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Water Supply Vol 3 No 5 pp 49–55 © IWA Publishing 2003

Solar thermal driven desalination plants based on membrane distillation

J. Koschikowski*, M. Wieghaus** and M. Rommel***

*Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme, Heidenhofstr. 2, D-79110 Freiburg, Germany (E-mail: joako@ise.fhg.de)
**Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme, Heidenhofstr. 2, D-79110 Freiburg, Germany
***Fraunhofer-Institut für Solare Energiesysteme, Heidenhofstr. 2, D-79110 Freiburg, Germany


ABSTRACT
In arid and semi-arid regions the lack of drinkable water often corresponds with a high solar insolation. These conditions are favourable for the use of solar energy as the driving force for water treatment systems. Especially in remote rural areas with low infrastructure and without connection to a grid, smallscale, stand-alone operating systems for the desalination of brackish water from wells or salt water from the sea are desirable to provide settlements with clean potable water. Fraunhofer Institut für Solare Energiesysteme is currently developing a solar thermally driven stand alone desalination system. The aim is to develop systems for a capacity range of 0.2 to 10 m3/day. Technical simplicity, long maintenance-free operation periods and high quality potable water output are very important aims for successful applications of the systems. The separation technique that the system is based on is membrane distillation. The implemented heat source is a corrosion-free, sea water resistant thermal collector.

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