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Desalination is a process that converts salt water to freshwater by removing salts and other

minerals, leaving behind freshwater. While there are a variety of methods to accomplish this task,
they can be grouped mainly into two types.

1.1.

Different Process of Desalination

There are different way of making potable water from seawater. The first method, thermal
desalination, involves the heating of saline water. When seawater is heated, the steam is
generated from the water and this steam condensed back into water that is now saline-free and
ready for use. In Table 1-1 the different processes of desalination are given and in figure 1-1 a
schematic diagram of a general desalination plant is shown.
The second type of desalination involves the use of membrane to separate salt and other minerals
from water. When pressurized saline water is passes through a membrane, freshwater ends up on
one side of the membrane while saline water stays on the other side as a form of waste.
1.1.1. Thermal Desalination process
It is the most reliable and robust process among all the desalination processes but thermal
desalination in particular are very energy intensive. Energy cost account for 30-40% of the
desalted water cost. The following are the main processes used for thermal Desalination
Table 1-1: - Different types of desalination process.

Distillation Process
Thermal Desalination
a)
b)
c)
a)

Membrane desalination

Multi Stage Flash Distillation.


a) Reverse Osmosis.
Multi Effect Distillation.
b) Nano-filtration
Vapor Compression.
c) Electro dialysis.
Multi stage Flash Distillation Process (MSF)

The plant has a series of chamber (stage) containing heat exchanger and condenser. The pressure
in these chambers are distributed in a decreasing manner. The main heat energy to the seawater is
given by steam or can be given by electric heater. After heated by steam or electricity, feed water
(seawater) is sprayed to the 1st stage whose temperature is greater than the saturation temperature
of the chamber. So flashing occurs from the water and at steady state the brine temperature

reduces and is being equal to the stage temperature. The steam produced from the flash is
condensed by seawater entering in to the next stage, thus it is working as a preheater also for the
next effect. In all the stage the steam is produced in the same principle and same way.
b) Multi-Effect Distillation (MED)
In Multi-effect Distillation desalination plant the steam is produced from the seawater by means
of boiling. The plant has a series of evaporator (effect). In the evaporator boiling of seawater
takes place in the shell side by means of heat transfer from steam from the tube side. The
temperature of the steam is higher than the saturation temperature of the shell side. The source of
steam enters into the tube side of the first effect is boiler. The generated vapor in the first effect
enters into the next effect and get condensed by releasing it latent heat to the seawater. In this
way the product water in each effect accumulating and extracted as plant output.
c) Vapor compression (VC)
This plant can be operated as a single unit or can be coupled with MED process. The plant has
similar structure to the MED with an added vapor compression section. This vapor compressor
can be of either thermal or electrical type. In this type of plant the vapor produced in the
evaporator shell side is taken to the compressor section where it compressed to the desired
pressure (first effect tube side pressure) and send it back to the evaporator tube side.

Sea water

Product water
Desalination Plant
(Thermal/Membrane)

Energy
1.1.2. Thermal/Electrical
Membrane process

Brine

Membrane provides a physical barrier that permits only some material from a mixture to pass to
Figure 1-1: - Schematic of a Desalination Plant

the other side depending on the size and shape of the materials. The pressure applied to the
concentrated water is greater than the osmotic pressure of the solution and beyond that osmotic
pressure the dilute go through the membrane to the other side.

a) Reverse Osmosis (RO)


The reverse osmosis technology uses a semipermeable membrane with the smallest pores to
remove the largest particle from water. Reverse osmosis can remove many types of molecules
and ions from solution including bacteria. This process is used in both industrial and domestic
application to produce potable water.
b) Nano-filtration (NF)
This is a relatively new process in membrane distillation. The principle of extracting potable
water from concentrated water is similar for all membrane process. Nano-filtration is applied to a
low total dissolved solids (TDS) water such as surface water. This type of filtration is mainly
used for softening water and removal of unwanted organic matter up to the sizes depending on
the pour size of the membrane.
c) Electro-dialysis (ED)
In electro-dialysis reversal process an electric potential is applied in to the solution of water
mixture. The two electrode is separated by ion exchange membranes. For the potential difference
the ions present in the solution is moves towards the electrodes according to their charge. The
ions in their way trapped between some cat-ion and anion exchange membranes and some of the
anion and cat-ion exchange membrane only contains dilute water.

1.2.

Scope and Objective of this work

Multi Effect Distillation with Mechanical Vapor Compressor (MED-MVC) is a very promising
technology among all the thermal desalination process. This process does not require any boiler
or any external thermal energy source. For this reason this type of plant can be implemented in
any remote places. The main energy given to this plant is in the form of electrical energy to the
vapor compressor.
The main objective of any desalination plant is to supply of potable water to the water
distribution system. This potable water from plant can be used for drinking as well as for
industrial use. So the quantity of distillate water required to supply is depend on the demand. The
demand (Load of the desalination plant) of water can vary according to the process. So the

production of water in an ideal plant shall match with the load (the demand of potable water) of
the plant.
For generating a required amount of potable water the plant input has to be changed accordingly.
The change of input should occur in such a way that the energy consumption by the plant should
be optimized by allowing a specified band for all the parameters. So a controller is required to do
the job. The conventional PID controller can be used for this situation, but the PID controller is
best suited in a single input single output (SISO) system where as this is a Multi Input Multi
Output (MIMO) system. So all the PID controller will try to manage their output as in desired
position by changing their inputs and the inputs from different PID will be different. So
controlling a MIMO system using PID controller is not a good option.
For controlling a MIMO system state feedback using pole placement technique can be used.
Further advancement for performance optimization can be handled by use of Linear Quadratic
Gaussian (LQG) controller and Model Predictive Controller (MPC). Linear Quadratic Regulator
(LQR) and LQG problem necessary requires an observer or Kalman filter for state estimation
and subsequent implementation of Ricatti equation. Further they are unable to handle
constraints. Thus use of a MPC which is capable of constraints handling, both parametric and on
state vector while following the desired reference trajectory of the outputs is considered a very
god approach to solve this problem.
The main objectives of this work are to make a transient model of a MED-MVC desalination
plant and application of MPC to study the response at various load conditions. As all the plant
states are measurable so no external observer is required to estimate the states. Simulation of the
plant output at different load conditions, with various weightage of outputs, inputs along with
rate of inputs while all the parameters are bounded to a limit is carried out.

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