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Design a Multiple

Effect Evaporator for

production of 1 TPD
table salt from


UG-4TH YEAR (A2) CHEM. ENGG. | ROLL - 001410301087

I would like to express my immense gratitude to the Chemical Engineering

Department of Jadavpur University for assigning me a project on the topic “Design
a Multiple Effect Evaporator for manufacture of 1 TPD table salt from seawater”.
I would like to express my heartful gratitude to Prof. P.K. Banerjee of Chemical
Engineering Department of jadavpur University, Jadavpur for allowing me to
complete this work under his elegant supervision and guidance. His
encouragement throughout the times of difficulties was something that cannot be
expressed as mere words. I am deeply indebted to him.
I am also very much grateful to research scholars of Chemical Engineering
Department, for their kind and heartily cooperation. Whenever I found myself in
difficulty, their ever-helping attitudes have given me the courage to proceed
My thanks to all technical lab assistants, library, the office staff members and
classmates of Department of Chemical Engineering for their hearty cooperation
during my project work.
Everything in nature is time bound, so thanks to ‘Almighty’ for successful
completion of the work in time.
Finally I thank my parents, without their blessings I could not have completed this


Adarsh Raj

This is to certify that the thesis entitled “Design a Multiple Effect Evaporator for
manufacture of 1 TPD table salt from seawater.” has been carried out by Adarsh
Raj in the partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of the Bachelor of
Chemical Engineering from Jadavpur University, Kolkata is recorded as bona fide
work that has been conducted under the supervision of Prof. P.K. Banerjee

....……………………………. ....…………………………….
Prof. P.K. Banerjee Dr. Kajari Kargupta
Project Guide Head of Department
Chemical Engineering Department Chemical Engineering Department
Jadavpur University Jadavpur University
Kolkata-700032 Kolkata-700032
Chapter 1
Evaporators are kind of heat transfer equipment where the transfer mechanism is
controlled by natural convection or forced convection. A solution containing a
desired product is fed into the evaporator and it is heated by a heat source like
steam. Because of the applied heat, the water in the solution is converted into
vapour and is condensed while the concentrated solution is either removed or fed
into a second evaporator for further concentration. If a single evaporator is used
for the concentration of any solution, it is called a single effect evaporator system
and if more than one evaporator is used for the concentration of any solution, it is
called a multiple effect evaporator system. In a multiple effect evaporator the
vapour from one evaporator is fed into the steam chest of the other evaporator. In
such a system, the heat from the original steam fed into the system is reused in the
successive effects.

1.1 Application of evaporators

Evaporators are integral part of a number of process industries namely Pulp and
Paper, chlor-alkali, Sugar, pharmaceuticals, Desalination, Dairy and Food
processing, etc (Bhargava et al., 2010). Evaporators find one of their most
important applications in the food and drink industry. In these industries,
evaporators are used to convert food like coffee to a certain consistency in order
to make them last for considerable period of time. Evaporation is also used in
laboratories as a drying process where preservation of long time activity is
required. It is also used for the recovery of expensive solvents and prevents their
wastage like hexane. Another important application of evaporation is cutting down
the waste handling cost. If most of the wastes can be vaporized, the industry can
greatly reduce the money spent on waste handling (Bhargava et al., 2010). The
multiple effect evaporator system considered in the present work is used for the
concentration of sea water to further produce salt. It consists of six effects. The
feed flow sequence considered is forward.

1.2 Developments in Multiple Effect Evaporation

The multiple effect evaporation system is formed as a sequence of single effect

evaporators, where the vapor formed in one effect is used in the next effect. The
vapors reuse in the multiple effect system allows reduction of large amount of
energy to the surrounding, which was the main drawback of the single effect
evaporator system. In addition to the desalination industry (concentrating sea
water), the main bulk of multiple effect evaporation process is found in the food,
pulp and paper, petroleum, and petrochemical industries.The origins of multiple
effect evaporation dates back to 19th century with the growth of sugar industry,
where it was necessary to devise an efficient evaporation process to produce good
quality sugar crystal at low prices.

Although, the first salt concentration plants were of the evaporation type whose
use was not expanded to full industrial scale because of limited design and
operating experience. Such systems were plagued with excessive fouling, scaling,
and corrosion. However, accumulated experiences during the 2nd half of the past
century in thermal desalination processes, headed by MSF process, have resulted I
rapid progress and development of efficient and inexpensive chemical treatment
for reuction and prevention of fouling, scaling, and corrosion.As a result, recent
research , development, pilot plant operation, and field results show superior
perfoemance and many attractive features of the multiple effect evaporation in
comparison with predominant MSF(multi-stage flash distillation) process.

The multiple effect evaporation process can be configured in forward, backward,

or parallel feed, as shown in fig. 1. The three configurations differ in the flow
directions of the heating steam and evaporating brine. Selection among the three
cnfigurations depends on the variation in salt salt solubility as a function of the top
brine temperature and the maximum brine concentration. At higher tempratures
or higher brine concentraions, scale formation takes place inside and outside the
tube surfaces. This results in the following:
Fig. 1. Configurations of Multiple Effect Evaporation system
 Decrease of the available flow area inside the tubes, which causes increase
in the pressure drop and pumping energy, and
 Increase of the thermal resistance for the heat transfer. This reduces the
heat transfer efficiency, which results in a lower produt flow rate.

In the backward feed, the seawater is introduced into the last effect, which has
the lowest temperature and pressure within the system. The brine flows
through successive effects towards the first effect. The increase in the pressure
and temperature across the effects dictate the use of brine pumping units
between the effects.

Fig. 2. Calcium sulfate solubility and top brine temperature for

Forward and backward feed multiple effect evaporation.
This feature is a major drawback in the backward feed system; because of the
increase in pumping power, maintenance cost, and the increase in air leakage
point through the pump connections. The second drawback of the system(as
shown in fig. 2) comes into picture where the brine with highest concentration
is subjected to highest temperature in system. It was found that temperature-
concentration profiles crosses the soluility limits for solute(especially in case of
calcium sulfate). These two cases makes the backward feed evaporation
configuration inapplicable to seawater desalination process.

Some examples of industrial applications of parallel feed MEE can be found in

literature which will be discussed in upcoming sections.
Chapter 2
Problem Statement and Process Modelling
Design a Multiple effect evaporation system for the manufacture of one tonne per
day table salt from sea water.
Forward feed multiple effect evaporation system is used here to describe and
model our calculations for the manufacture of 1 tonne per day table salt from sea
water. Although it is not widely used on industrial scale for desalination process,
our modelling of the solution will go quite well with the industry standards for a
forward feed multiple effect evaporation system.

2.1 Functioning and Description

Fig. 3. shows a schematic diagram for the forward-feed multiple effect evaporation
(MEE-FF) sea water desalination process. The system includes the evaporators,
equal to n, a series of feed water preheaters, equal to n-2, a train of flashing boxes,
equal to n-1, a down condenser, and a venting system. The direction of heat flow
as wells as the flow direction of the brine and vapor is from left to right, i.e., from
effect 1 to n. The pressure in the effects decreases in the flow direction.
Fig. 3. Schematic of MEE-FF desalination process
The intake seawater flows into the condenser of the last effect at a flow rate of
Mcf+Mf. This steam absorbs the latent heat of vapors formed in the last effect and
flashing box. Seawater stream heated from the intake temperature, Tcw, to a higher
temperature, Tf. The function of the cooling seawater, Mcw, is to remove the excess
heat added to the system in the first effect by motive steam. In the last effect, this
heat is equivalent to the latent heat of the boiled off vapors. On the other hand,
the feed seawater, Mf, is heated by the flashed off vapors formed in the last effect
and the associated water flash box.

The brine spray forms a thin film around the succeeding rows of horizontal tubes.
The brine temperature rises to the boiling temperature, T1, which corresponds to
the pressure of the vapor space. The saturation temperature of the formed vapor,
Tv1, is less than the brine boiling temperature by the boiling point elevation, (BPE)1.

A small portion of vapor, D1, is formed by the boiling in the first effect. The
remaining brine, Mf - D1, flows into the second effect, which operates at a lower
temperature and pressure. Vapor is formed in effects 2 to n by two different
mechanisms, boiling and flashing.

Motive steam, Ms, extracted from an external boiler drives vapor formation in the
first effect. The vapor formed by boiling in the first effect, D1, is used to drive the
second effect, which operates at a lower saturation temperature, T2. Reduction n
vapor temperature is caused by boiling point elevation, non-equilibrium allowance,
and losses caused by depression the vapor saturation pressure by frictional losses
in the demister, transmission lines, and during condensation. These losses can be
represented as an extra resistance to flow of heat between condensing vapor and
boiling brine. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the heat transfer area to account
for these losses. The amount of vapor formed in the effect j is less than the amount
formed in previous effect. This is because of the increase in latent heat of
vaporization with decrease in the evaporation temperature.
The condenser and the brine heaters are sometimes provided with good vents, first
for purging during start-up and then for removing non-condensable gases, which
may have been introduced with the feed or drawn in through leaks to the system.
The presence of non-condensable gases not only impedes the heat transfer process
but also reduces the temperature at which steam condenses at the given pressure.
This occurs partially because of the reduced partial pressure in a film of poorly
conducting gas at the interface.

As a summary, in any effect, the brine leaving the effect decreases by the amount
of vapor formed by boiling, Dj, and by flashing, dj. Although here flash boxes are not
taken into account for the design.
2.1 Analysis of Multiple effect evaporator system

With the increasing trend in the cost of coal, fuel oil it becomes to use the vapors
of previous effect in the steam chest of following effect. This requires the multiple
effect evaporator system .As the number of effect increases the steam economy
increases on the other side capital cost will be more.

There is economic balance between the fixed cost and the operating cost so that
one can select the optimum number of effects.

Fixed Cost:
According to Coston and Lindey,the annual fixed cost of a multiple effect
evaporator is approximately proportional to the 0.75 power of the number of
V1 = C1/A* N0.75

The estimated cost of a single effect (C1) can be obtained from a number of sources
once the heat transfer surfaces requirements are known.

Operating cost :
Operating costs can be divided in to steam cost and all operating costs (labour,
cooling water,power and maintenance) such that
V1 = h*W*C2/S + V0
H = operating time (hr/yr)
W = evaporation rate (Kg/hr)
C2 = cost of steam (Rs/Kg)
S = steam economy
V0 = all operating cost other than the cost of steam (Rs/Yr)
Steam economy can be expressed as: S = S1+S 1S2+S 1S22+…………..+S 1S2N-1
S = S1 (1-S2N )/ (1-S2)
Thus V2 becomes V2 = (1-S2)h*W*C2/S1 (1-S2N ) + V0
Total cost VT = V1 + V2
VT = C1/A* N0.75 + (1-S2)h*W*C2/S1(1-S2N) + V0
For minimum cost ∆VT/∆N = 0
0 = C1/N{(N+1)0.75 –(N0.75)} + (1-S2)h*W*C2/S1{[1/(1-S2 N+1)]-[1/(1-S2 N )]}
AhwC2/C1 = {[(N+1)0.75–(N0.75)] * S1(1-S2 N )(1-S2 N+1)}/(1-S2) 2 *S2 N

This cost effective approach to find out the number of effects required in the
multiple effect evaporation system can be very useful when we know, or, are
provided with above given data values along with heat transfer area (A).

2.2 Modelling of Multiple effect evaporator system

Multiple effect evaporators involve a large number of state and design – variables.
A change in any variable can upset the operation of the evaporator. To achieve the
goal of energy conservation in multiple effect evaporators, it is necessary to know
how does steam economy alter with changes in operating variables for a given end
product concentration . To quantise the changes in steam economy , a functional
relationship correlating it with variables should be developed. For this, it is
necessary to identify all the variables which affect the steam economy of a multiple
effect evaporator.
2.3 Variables of a multiple effect evaporator :

In a evaporator , the variables can be classified as geometrical-operating, and self

balancing variables. As regards the geometrical variable , it is the area of heat
transfer surface in each effect of an evaporator . Hence, N-effect evaporator will
have N number of geometrical variables.
From industrial practices .we know that there are some operating variables which
plant engineer can change them independently to annual any imbalance in the
operation of an evaporator . They include: feed temperature, feed concentration
,feed flow rate,and steam temperature (pressure), saturation temperature
(pressure) in the last effect. Feed arrangement (forward/backward/mixed) is also
one of the operating variables. Thus , total number of operating variables is six.
As regards the vapour and liquid streams from each effect of a multiple effect
evaporator, they cannot be changed independently by a plant engineer. Therefore,
they are self balancing streams. The variables associated with these streams are:
flow rate, temperature and concentration of liquid streams ; and saturation
temperature(pressure) of each effect. However, temperature of vapour stream
equals to the temperature of liquid stream. In this way , for N-effect effect
evaporator the number of self balancing variables becomes 5N. It is important to
point out here that the saturation temperature(pressure) of the last effect, has
already been taken in to account as an operating variable . Therefore, it cannot be
considered as a self- balancing variable. Flow rate of steam to the first effect is the
another self-balancing variable whose value is usually not altered. Thus the total
number of net self balancing variables for N- effect evaporator, becomes 5N [=5N-
The summation of geometrical, operating and self -balancing variables gives the
total number of variables in an evaporator. They are equal to 6N+6[=N+6+5N].
2.4 Mathematical Model :
A mathematical model of a multiple effect evaporator is a relationship amongst the
geometrical, operating and self -balancing variables. This can be obtained from the
equations of material balance, energy balance, heat transfer rate, and boiling point
For the simplicity of the mathematical model, following assumptions have been
made in this analysis:
1. The vapours entering in to steam chest of respective effects are at their
saturation temperature.
2. There is no sub cooling of the condensate from different steam chests.
3. Condensation of vapour in steam chest occurs at constant pressure.
4. There is no carry- over of liquid droplets with vapors leaving the respective
5. There is no heat dissipation to surroundings.
6. Heat transfer surface does not undergo fouling.
The model which we are going to use is a simplified mathematical model, which
gives very efficient and simple tool for system design and evaluation. The model is
solved through a sequence of manual design and calculations. Iterations are not
exhaustive and do not require computer programming. Also, the assumptions
invoked in model development do not sacrifice process fundamentals, specially,
equal heat transfer area in all effects.
The model equations exclude flash boxes and preheaters. The governing equation
for down condenser can be included and its solution is made upon completion of
effect iterations. Following assumptions are made :
 Constant specific heat, Cp, for the seawater at different temperature and
 Constant thermodynamic losses in all effects.
 Constant heat transfer area in all effects.
 No vapor flashing takes place inside the effetcs.
 Feed seawater is at the saturation temperature of the first effect.
 Equal thermal loads in all effects.
 The formed vapors are salt free.
 The driving force for heat transfer in the effect is equal to the difference of
the condensation and evaporation temperatures.
 Energy losses to the surroundings are negligible.
 Boiling point elevation due to solute not considered in any of the effects.

Solution of the model equations to determine varibales, requires specification of

the following system parameters (should be given, if not, then to be assumed) :
 Temperature of the motive steam, Ts.
 Vapor temperature in the effect n, Tn.
 Salt concentration in the brine stream leaving effect n, Xn.
 Salt concentration in the feed stream, Xf.
 Total distillate flow rate, Md.

Summary of calculation steps:

1. Initially temperature in each effect is estimated. To make this estimation, it is
assumed that the heat transfer area in all effects is equal. This leads to:
Overall temperature drop across the effect is calculated (drop between the
steam in 1st effect and the saturation temp of the last effect).
ΔTtot = ΔT1 + ΔT2 + … + ΔTn
2. Calculate the total amount of solvent vaporized from the feed and product
concentration and feed flow rate. It is assumed that heat transfer rate in each effect
is roughly equal. This signifies that the rates of vaporization in each effect are also
roughly equal. Calculate the approximate vaporization rate in each effect (it is one-
third of total amount of solvent vaporized in one effect in case triple effect system).
Calculate the concentration in each effect and then overall temperature drop.
3. Redistribute the overall temperature drop ( ΔTtot) among the all the effects. Since
the areas are the same (A1 = A2 = A3 ), the temperature difference in each effect is
roughly proportional to the overall transfer coefficients.
ΔT2 = ΔT1 (UD1/UD2) , ΔTn = ΔT1 (UD1/UDn)
ΔTtot = ΔT1 + ΔT2 + … + ΔTn = ΔT1 (1 + UD1/UD2 + .. + UD1/UDn)
Thus, calculate ΔT1 , ΔT2 , …. , ΔTn.
4. Calculated value of temperature drop in each effects is used to composition is
used to calculate enthalpy values. Same reference should be used for all streams.
Enthalpy balance equations solved to get mass flow rates in effects.
5. Heat transfer equations used to calculate heat transfer area for each effect.
6. Areas obtained are compared. If they are not equal, then calculation repeted
using the areas obtained to revise temperature estimates.
Calculations repeated until area of each effect is approximately equal.
Or, A convergence criterion is defined which is based on the maximum difference
in heat transfer areas -
ΔAmax - Max (Ai+1 - Ai), with i = 1, 2,… , n-1
The iteration tolerance may be specified as a large number, i.e., 1 m2, if small
number of iterations (1 or 2) are needed. For higher accuracy, a smaller tolerance
such as 0.1 m2 or 0.01 m2 is used.
Chapter 3

The previous mentioned mathematical model was used to design our multiple
effect evaporator system.
Our concentrated sea water having conc. of 80,000 ppm at the exit will then be
full evaporated to get the required amount of table salt (1 tpd) from the industry.
Our design was based on the pre-specified number of effects i.e., 6. To optimize
the the number of effects we are to do the calculation regarding the cost required
and then optimize from that.
1. http://nptel.ac.in/courses/103103027/13

2. http://ethesis.nitrkl.ac.in/1911/1/10600012.pdf

3. http://nptel.ac.in/courses/103107096/module4/lecture2/lecture2.pdf

4. El-Dessouky, H.T., Alatiqi, I., Bingulac, S., and Ettouney, H.M., Steady-state
analysis of the multiple effect evaporation desalination process, Chem. Eng.
Tech., 21(1998)437-451

5. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_38RxsnElO1WGE3Tm9yOUh6SWc
(simplified MEE design)

6. https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B_38RxsnElO1SS1HMzRFMXU3R3M
(steady-state design of MEE)