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Modeling and Design of Heat Exchangers in a

Solar- Multi Effect Distillation Plant

Aicha Chorak1*, Azzeddine Laknizi3,Abdellatif Anas El Maakoul2, Elhachmi Essadiqi5

Ben Abdellah4, Renewable Energy and Advanced Materials
Engineering Research Team, laboratory (REAM)
Innovation and Management of Industrial International University of Rabat
Systems -FST Sale, Morocco
Abdelmalek Essadi University
Tangier, Morocco
E-mail address:

AbstractThe provision of fresh water is becoming an looking into cutting-edge energy-efficient, low-emission of the
increasingly important issue in the world, in arid and semi-arid plant for different desalination technologies: the thermal and
regions, as southern Europe, North Africa and the Middle East, membrane desalination. In the last two decades, zero-emission
Central Asian countries and several areas in North and South energy sources, especially wind and solar energy, have been
America. The water demand is linked to rapid population developed to be used for seawater desalination [5]. It is
growth, pollution problems, climate change and the frequency of
estimated according to literature that future reductions as well
drought periods. As a consequence, more and more interest is
paid to thermal desalination processes of seawater coupled with as rise in fossil fuel prices will make seawater desalination
renewable energy such as solar energy. In this paper, the driven by renewable energies more competitive in the years to
modeling and design of the heat exchangers in a multi-effect come [6]. Furthermore, the production cost of desalinated
distillation (MED) desalination plant using thermal solar energy water has been considerably decreased and is expected to
is presented and analyzed, specifically we focused our interest in decrease even further [7]. Besides, in the last three decades,
shell and tube heat exchangers. We compared the heat transfer interest in the multiple effect distillation (MED) process has
coefficients (HTC) found using the correlations of Bell method increased, and a number of new designs of plants operating at
for Single phase , Kandlikar for Boiling correlations, Kutateladze lower temperatures that reduce the potential of corrosion and
for Condensation correlations with those present in previous
scaling have been built in rural and urban areas.[8]. In real
experimental work for each mechanisms in MED plant. The
results show the reliability of the design and that they are in good terms, interest in the multiple effect distillation (MED) process
agreement with the values of previous experimental works. has increased, due to its greater compatibility with solar
thermal desalination, its low top brine temperature and its high
Keywords: Multi Effect Distillation; Solar energy;Heat thermodynamic efficiency.
echangers;Design; Correlations
In recent literature, MED research has focused mainly on
specic thermal performance characterization. The Solar-
Estimation suggest that freshwater supplies will be a major MED desalination plant "Plataforma Solar de Almeria",
problem for half the countries of the world by 2025 and by located in Spain is a significant effort in solar desalination.
2050 about 75% of the population of the world will experience The plant which is powered by solar collector filed is
a serious scarcity of the resource [1]. The worlds most severe consisting of 14 heat exchangers vertically stacked
water stresses are found in North Africa and the Middle East. [9,10].However, there are very few studies about the
Good example for this phenomenon is Morocco who has optimization design of heat exchangers in MED plant .
fewer than 1,000 cubic meters per person per year [2]. The
challenge will be most acute in countries undergoing The heat exchangers form the major components for heat
accelerated transformation and rapid economic growth, transfer in MED plants. These heat exchangers unfortunately
especially where water resources are scarce or where water- are still very large and heavy. In order to minimize their
related infrastructure and services are inadequate [3]. To get surfaces and their weight, it is appropriate to modify the flow
over this problem, desalination plants offer the potential of an from laminar to turbulent in order to increase the heat
unlimited source of fresh water purified from the vast oceans exchange. A numerical evaluation was presented by Chorak
of salt water [4]. A. et al [11] to improve the heat transfer of corrugated tubes
heat exchangers which increase turbulence and improve the
Scientists and government leaders around the world are

978-1-4673-7894-9/15/$31.00 2015 IEEE

heat transfer to carry out the targets of high efficiency and low cbd Convective boiling dominant
cost with the reduced size and least weight possible. CO2 Carbon dioxide
The shell and tube heat exchangers types, which have been CSP Concentrated solar power
developed on this paper, are widely used in process industries, HTC Heat Transfer Coefficients
in steam generators, in desalination plants, in pressurized IRESEN Institute of Research in Solar Energy and New
water reactor plants, in feed water heaters, in conventional and Energies
nuclear power stations as condensers, and in some air MASEN Moroccan Agency for Solar Energy
conditioning systems. More than 90% of heat exchangers used MED Multi-effect distillation
in industry are of the shell and tube heat exchanger [12],as nbd Nucleate boiling dominant
these heat exchangers offer exibility in mechanical features RO Reverse osmosis
to meet almost any service requirement and they can be easily
The objective of the work covered in this paper is to present
the model and design of the heat exchangers in a MED Morocco is in the northwest of Africa and overlooks the
seawater desalination plant operated by thermal solar energy Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. The desalination
and to determine the overall heat transfer coefficient of shell capacity in Morocco is approaching a daily water production
and tube heat exchangers with its validation. This paper is of 20 000 m3/d for drinking water in the Saharan area. These
organized as follows. The sections II,III and IV are devoted to desalination plants operate according to the reverse osmosis
an overview of desalination market in Morocco, the process (RO) process and use the electrical power of the network.
description and the theoretical modeling an design. Section V Moroccan government promotes the installation of
deals with the Results and discussion. Finally, some desalination units. Morocco is an example for deploying large-
conclusions and future directions of work are drawn in last scale renewable energy projects. To meet its growing energy
section. needs, Morocco has set a proactive energy strategy. This
strategy puts renewable energy among the top priorities. They
NOMENCLATURE must reach 42% of the installed capacity by 2020, against 26%
today. Currently, the institute of solar energy research and new
energies (IRESEN) reflects the national research strategy.
IRESEN coordinates and collects several research themes for
A Surface area, m2
the future, among them small scale projects of seawater
D Diameter, mm
h Heat transfer coefficient, W/m2K desalination plant using solar energy which is this project.
L Tubes length, m
LMTD Log mean temperature difference, C III. PROCESS DESCRIPTION
M Mass flow rate, kg/s The seawater desalination MED technology system under
R Resistance, investigation, which is currently under constructions, is given
U Overall heat transfer, W/mK in Figure 1, where only the main components are displayed for
X Salt concentration, g/kg sake of simplicity. The installation of solar seawater
desalination project is a closed circuit, consisting of a multi-
Subscripts effect distillation plant with four effects(with the four
B Brine flow rate from effect preheaters), one condenser and a solar collectors field which
D Total distillate from effect will produce the energy required to the first column through a
F Feed flow rate into effect thermal water storage tank.
e External The plant can produce between 5 to 20 m3/d of fresh water,
f Fouling depending on the number of effect, accessible to small
i Shell internal communities. Figure 1 present a scheme of the solar MED
io Tube side plant. Some auxiliary components are connected to the system
o Shell side like the two recovery plate heat exchangers, the air cooler, the
heater, and two pools, etc.
Greece symbols The role of first recovery plate heat exchanger is to recover
The latent heat, kJ/kg the heat from the brine exiting in the effects, and to use it to
Dynamic viscosity,kg/m/s preheat the inlet seawater. The role of this second recovery
Density, kg/m3 plate heat exchanger is to recover heat from the distillated
water to preheat the inlet seawater. To distill the seawater, it is
Dimensionless groups first necessary to heat the water at the chosen distillation
Re Reynolds number temperature. The process which we have chosen evaporates
only the 50% of the water introduced into the effect. And this
Abbreviations water is at the evaporation temperature. It would be therefore

Sponsor: Institute of Research in Solar Energyand New

useful to recover this energy and transfer it to the incoming coefficients U, using the heat transfer correlations for each
cold water into the system. It is in this spirit that we have mechanism as large used in the literature (Bell method for
designed the heat exchanger system. Single phase , Kandlikar for Boiling correlations, Kutateladze
for Condensation correlations). Then, we calculate the new
surface which will represent the calculated surface.
Calculations stop when both surfaces are equal, within a
certain error to be defined. Finally, to validate the used design
method, we compared our HTC with those found in previous
In the following section, we present the correlations for each
mechanism and its authors. We have selected this correlations
because they give stability over a wide range of conditions.
1) Boiling correlations
Correlations were developed by Kandlikar [13]. His method
consist of calculating the expression hTP from each of the
following correlations, and then to choose the larger value:

hTP = max(hTP, NBD ,hTP,CBD)*hL0 (4)

For Re > 3000 :
Figure 1: Scheme of the MED process with the heat recovery: Seawater
desalination technology powered by thermal solar energy hTP ,NBD = 0.6683Co0.2 (1 x)0.8 hL0 + 1058Bo0.7 (1 x)0.8 F hL0 (5)
hTP ,CBD = 1.136Co0.9 (1 x)0.8 hL0
IV. THEORICAL MODELIN AND DESIGN + 667.2Bo0.7 (1 x)0.8 F hL0 (6)
1x 0.8 g
A. MED Process modeling Co = (7)
x L
The mathematical model for the MED (Parallel Flow) system Q GD m
includes the material and energy balance equations as well as Bo = G ; Re = ;G = (8)
i S
the heat transfer equations for each effect, and the down
condenser. The model includes the following equations: where hTP,NBD and hTP,CBD are two-phase heat transfer
coefficients in the nucleate boiling dominant and convective
Total balance in effect i: boiling dominant regions. F is a fluid-surface parameter. In the
MF i = MD i + MB i (1) case of water, it is equal to: F = 1.
For others case Re < 3000, Kandlikar extended his
Salt balance in effect i:
correlations to other regimes.
XF i MF i = XB i MB i (2) 2) Condensation correlations
Energy balance in effect i: Heat transfer solution for condensation are complex, because
they require that one solve the boundary layer problem in the
MD i1 i1 = MD i i = UA LMTD (3) vapor, in order to evaluate the shear stress exerted by the
vapor flow on the condensate; and this solution must be
Where MF is feed flow rate into effect, MD is total distillate matched with the velocity at the outside surface of the
from effect; MB is brine flow rate from effect and X is the salt condensate film. The condensation HTC by the one maybe
concentration. calculated by Kutateladze[14] correlation on vertical
The first term in (3) corresponds to the heat added to the effect surfaces[14]with the following expression:

by condensing the vapor generated in the previous effect. This = 1.08 1.22 5.2 ( 2 )1/3 (9)

only applies from effects2 to n, since heating steam from an
3) Single phase HTC: Bells method
external source is used to drive the system and heat the first
Bell Delaware method has been used to evaluate the shell side
effect. The last term gives the amount of heat needed to
coefficient. The method is based on heat transfer and pressure-
generate the vapor inside the effect.
drop experimental data corresponding to an ideal tube bank (a
tube bank with infinite width). The ideal tube bank is
B. Methodology materialized with a rectangular heat exchanger in pure cross-
The design of the solar collectors, pumps and storage tanks is flow. Half-tubes are installed at the borders to simulate
straightforward, and due to space constraint, we will focus on continuity. The data corresponding to the ideal bank are later
the design of the critical components: the distillation effects, corrected with coefficients that take into account the
and the condenser. To design the effects and the condenser, characteristics of a particular exchanger (such as leakage
An iterative procedure will be followed. First, we assume the areas, baffle cut, bypass streams, etc.).The shell side HTC[15]
heat exchanger dimensions which will represent the real is expressed as:

surface (A). Secondly, we calculate the overall heat transfer = 0.66
Where h is the bypass correction, the window correction Area 4.068 m2
hL Baffles cut (% shell
and the leakage correction. More details about the method diameter)
h NL
has been presented [15]. Baffles spacing 51 mm
Shell flow rate 5.5 kg/s
4) Fouling resistance Tubes flow rate 0.1 kg/s
Seawater at moderate temperature presents a fouling resistance Evaporation ratio 0.5
of Rf = 0.00009 [16]. Over design ~20 %
Tube side coefficient 7452 W/mK
5) The Overall heat transfer transfer Shell side coefficient 11894 W/mK
After evaluating the HTC, the overall heat transfer coefficient coefficient Overall heat transfer
3871.94 W/mK
is given by the equation: coefficient
1 1 1
+ + 2 (11)

Usually the evaluation of the overall heat transfer coefficient
requires iterative calculations. These calculations, sometime,
proves to be exhaustive thus requiring computer

C. Simulation Conditions The temperature drop is caused by the pressure drop in the heat
For the practical reasons, simulations are performed for exchanger, from the saturation pressure ~47.44 kPa (at 80C)
various values of tube external diameters (De) in the range of to 44 kPa.
(9.525- 19.05mm). The range the tubes length (L) used is (1.2-
2.438m) with tubes number of (30-140) and shell internal Having an LMTD of ~9.7 C, the calculated surface is 4.882
diameter (Di) of (200-235mm) successively. m. We have an overdesign of 20% compared to the real
surface, which is acceptable.
2) Second effect
The second effect too, is a vertical shell and tube heat
In this part, we will present the design and the HTC of heat exchanger. We preheat the seawater in the tube side and the
exchangers based on the TEMA standard [17] for the selection steam is coming from the first effect in the shell side. Due to
of the dimensions of this later, with a production of 5 m3/d the pressure drop, the steam has a temperature of 78 C.
MED plant with four effects and a condenser as shown in
Tables (I,II, III, IV, V). Thus, An iterative procedure has been TABLE II. RESULT
followed as presented in theorical modeling an design part. S OF THE DESIGN AND THE HTC FOR THE SECOND EFFECT
Moreover, to validate the used design method, we compared
The Second Effect
our HTC with those found in previous studies (Table VI). Tubes external
9.525 mm
1) The first effect Tubes length 2.438 m
The first effect is a vertical shell and tube heat exchanger. Tubes number 118
The exchange occurs between the hot water coming from the Shell internal diameter 210 mm
solar panel hot water tank (shell side) and preheated sea water The Area 8.474 m2
(tube side). design Baffles cut (% shell
Calculations were done on the first effect by setting the heat 25%
exchanger dimensions and then finding the HTC. Baffles spacing 95 mm
Heat transfer coefficient for the shell side was calculated using Shell flow rate 0.05 kg/s
Bells method, and Kandlikar correlation was used to evaluate Tubes flow rate 0.1 kg/s
the tube side coefficient. Evaporation ratio 0.5
Over design ~7 %
transfer Shell side coefficient 6148 W/mK
The First Effect
coefficient Overall Heat transfer
Tubes external 2793.811 W/mK
9.525 mm coefficient
The Tubes length 1.2 m
design Tubes number 115
Shell internal The tube side HTC were calculated using Kandlikars
200 mm
diameter correlations and the shell side using Kutateladzes.
Area 10.054 m2
Baffles cut (% shell 25%
Baffles spacing 95 mm
Shell flow rate 0.05 kg/s
Tubes flow rate 0.1 kg/s
Having an LMTD of ~5.5 C, the calculated surface is 9.067 Evaporation ratio 0.5
m. We have an overdesign of 7% compared to the real surface, Over design ~12 %
which is acceptable. Heat Tube side 5726 W/mK
transfer coefficient
4) Third effect coefficient Shell side 6061 W/mK
Using the same methodology, the results for the third effect Overall Heat 2634.14 W/mK
are presented in the following table: transfer coefficient



The Third Effect

Tubes external 9.525 mm
Tubes length 2.438 m
Tubes number 128
Shell internal diameter 223 mm Having a log mean temperature difference (LMTD) of ~5.6C,
Area 9.192 m 2 the calculated surface is 11.46 m. We have an overdesign of
Baffles cut (% shell 25%
12% compared to the real surface, which is acceptable.
The design diameter)
Baffles spacing 95 mm 6) Condenser
Shell flow rate 0,05 kg/s The condenser recover the heat from the steam at the output of
Tubes flow rate 0.1 kg/s the last effect (4), the cooling seawater at the entrance comes
Evaporation ratio 0.5 from the output of the first recovery heat exchanger.
Over design ~9 %
Heat transfer Tube side coefficient 6061 W/mK TABLE V. RESULT
coefficient Shell side coefficient 5726 W/mK
Overall Heat transfer 2634.14 W/mK Condenser
coefficient The design Tubes external 19.05 mm
Tubes length 1.829 m
Tubes number 30
Shell internal 200 mm
Area 3.215 m2
Baffles cut (% shell 18%
Baffles spacing 51 mm
Shell flow rate 0.4 kg/s
Having a log mean temperature difference (LMTD) of ~5.5 C Tubes flow rate 0.05 kg/s
, the calculated surface is 10.02 m. We have an overdesign of Over design ~11 %
9% compared to the real surface, which is acceptable. Heat Tube side coefficient 2436 W/mK
transfer Shell side coefficient 6084 W/mK
coefficient Overall Heat transfer 1626.35 W/mK
5) Fourth effect coefficient
Using the same methodology, the results for the fourth effect
are presented in the following table:



The Fourth Effect

The Design Tubes external 9.525 mm
Tubes length 2.438 m
Tubes number 140 Having a log mean temperature difference (LMTD) of
Shell internal 235 mm
~14.6C, the calculated surface is 3.53 m. We have an
overdesign of 11% compared to the real surface, which is consumption of the MED unit and to make the process more
acceptable. friendly are some of the aims. Future experimental validation
work of boiling-condensation mechanisms will be carried out
7) Results comparison as soon as the plant is installed this year.

We compare the values of HTC found for the MED plant with ACKNOWLEDGMENT
those presented in previous experimental data for the boiling, The financial support provided by the IRESEN to carry out
condensation and single phase mechanisms [18,16]: this research under the project Seawater desalination using
solar energy, InnoTherm II Solar thermal applications and
TABLE VI. HTC solar technologies support is duly acknowledged.

HTC(w/m2K) This work Previous work[2,3] REFERENCES

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