Assessing the Feasibility of Using Low Temperature Heat to Meet Water Treatment Demand: A Consideration of Policy, Process, and Economic Constraints

Dr. Meagan Mauter, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA


18 November 2015 at 11:30

Location: BSB 137

The efficiency of state-of-the-art seawater desalination technology, namely reverse osmosis, is approaching its thermodynamic limit, yet energy consumption of water desalination processes remains unsustainably high.  This presentation will address recent work in the Water and Energy Efficiency for the Environment (WE3) lab at Carnegie Mellon University to evaluate the technical and economic feasibility of desalination processes driven by low-temperature waste heat.  I will review our recent work describing the quality, quantity, and spatial-temporal availability of waste heat from electric power generation facilities, the largest concentrated sources of waste heat in the US.  Next, I will review process models that characterize the production capacity of waste-heat driven separation processes, including our own which accounts for non-equilibrium conditions during draw solute recovery. Finally, I will present economic optimization models that we are developing to explore the economic feasibility of waste-heat driven FO processes for diverse feed streams.


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