Simulation Study of the Thermal Performance of MSF Desalination Unit Operating by Solar Vacuum Tube Collectors

Mohammad J.R. Abdunnabi and Abdulghani M. Ramadan


MSF desalination plant, Fresh water, Configuration optimization, Simulation


The center for Solar Energy Research and Studies (CSERS) has a good experience in operating and evaluating the thermal performance of small scale 5 m3/day Multi-Stage Flashing (MSF) desalination plant connected to solar pond according to the local weather conditions of Tajoura area. However, new project has been suggested to run the desalination plant with vacuum tubes solar thermal collectors utilizing available technology and experience. In this study an attempt were made to make the best use of readily available components to operate the MSF desalination unit with field of solar thermal collectors. Several configurations of collectors and tank arrangements are designed and examined through the use of simulation software, TRNSYS. The study has shown that the layout-3 (two 500 litres storage tanks each of them connected with 9x5 vacuum tube collectors) gives the best performance with an annual solar fraction over 77% at load temperature of 70 °C with flow rate of 2500 lit/hr, and over 68% at load temperature of 80 °C for working condition of 8 hours daily. The study has also shown that Running the desalination plant for 24 hours a day reduces the solar fraction of the solar collector field to 25%.

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