Design and Characterisation of an Electrohydrodynamic Multinozzle Atomizer for Thermal Desalination Processes

Water is one of the three basic necessities (Air, water and food) of life on earth. Access to adequate quantities of safe and fresh water for drinking, domestic, commercial, agricultural and industrial application is vital to human, health and ecosystem well-being as well as to achieving sustainable economic development.

Worldwide water scarcity, climate change, bad management of available water sources, population and industrial growth are pressing the world to come up with innovative ways of sourcing for water. Seawater desalination is a promising technology since seawater is one of the most abundant fresh water sources. Among many other desalination processes, multi effect distillation is known for its robustness and high production; however it still delivers a recovery ratio (total fresh water volume per total inlet volume) of only 10%. There is therefore need to increase its efficiency. This research verified whether the combination of electrohydrodynamic atomization and multi effect distillation systems could improve the efficiency of the thermal desalination system.

The multinozzle atomizer uses electrohydrodynamic atomization, also known as electrospray, to create mono-sized electrically charged droplets. This research investigated whether it provided small sized, monodispersed and broadly dispersed droplets which would eventually improve evaporation ratio of the liquid. The research work involved designing of the multinozzle atomizer, computational modelling to check the process parameters, simulating of the complete design and characterising the working conditions of the device.

The sprayed water was analysed using Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (ICPMS) and Total reflection X-ray Fluorescence (TXRF). This work provided vital information of the reactions that occurred during the electrospray process and thus gave insights of the possible implementation of electrospray in desalination hybrid systems.

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