On the occasion of theWorld Future Energy Summit(WFES 2015 in Abu Dhabi) was presented a new technology capable of purifying water using solar energy. The system, based on reverse osmosis, was patented last October as a world novelty for the purification of sea water.
The technology presented atWFES of Abu Dhabiis linked to the acronym "SSD", Smart Solar Desalination,and has been optimized for an "off grid" configuration so, just like an independent solar system, it is flanked by a storage system but this time, the storage system is not dedicated to the storage of electricity, but to that of water already purified.
The SSD system uses high efficiency Bi-facial photovoltaic modules installed with a specifically designed single-axis solar tracker. It is the ideal solution especially for deserted areas where, due to winds, sand and dust deposit on the module surface is standard.
The generation system of photovoltaic energy it is combined with a generator and a small UPS for back-up purposes only, so as to ensure the supply of purified water even when the sun is not beating strong or during the night. The solar field, together with the entire energy generation system, is flexible to the different power requirements of the desalination process.
This optimization allows for a water purification system patented, innovative and economically accessible that maximizes the use ofsolar power for the direct production of purified water and minimizes the storage of energy in the batteries and the fuel consumption of the generator.
With the Smart Solar Desalination system, the traditional energy supplied to the plant is reduced by more than 87%, from 2.98 kWhe / m3 to 0.37 kWhe / m3 and the cost of water is reduced by more than 58% , compared to a standard system ad reverse osmosis.
One of the winning points of this system of water purification with solar energy, is the possibility of storing the processed water instead of thesolar power which instead goes directly to feed the desalination process without storage in the batteries.
The large tank of desalinated water has the dual purpose of optimizing the generation process of renewable energy and to ensure the availability of water. The role of the back-up system is not to store energy but to optimize all the energy not used by the reverse osmosis system.
In the stand-alone configuration (also called "independent" or "off grid") the amortization period is no more than 3-4 years. This system ofwater purification with solar energyit is structured in modules sized for the production of 48 m3 / h of drinking water but modularity is applicable considering not only the quantity of drinking water but also the quality of the water produced.
The level of purification varies according to the needs and the intended use of the purified water. The quality levels range from ultra-pure to desalinated water but for non-potable uses such as for agriculture up to treated water that maintains different saline concentrations.
The system uses high efficiency bi-facial photovoltaic modules made with 60 bi-facial BiSoN cells made of N-type silicon. The double-sided modules enhance the amount of clean energy produced considering a contribution from the back equal to 30%, the total efficiency of the module (front + back) is 25.5% and the power is 350 Wp equivalent.
This is not the first water purification plant that uses solar energy, some time ago we told you about a technology developed by an Italian start-up. To learn more, take a look at the article entitled "Purifying water with solar energy“.