Novel CEE system utilizes flowing air streams to evaporate effluent. Real-time control optimizes the operation to minimizes energy use while maintaining a constant evaporation rate


We propose a novel convection-enhanced evaporation (CEE) system as a low cost, energy-efficient modular brine management and on-site treatment device for decentralized desalination and industrial plants.

CEE system is comprised of a set of horizontally packed hydrophilic evaporation surfaces at uniform vertical spacing. Liquid (brine) is uniformly released by means of a flow distribution pipe and orifices along the width of each evaporation surface forming a thin film. A fan is fixed at the opposite side of the liquid injection as a driving force for air flow. As air flows over the liquid film, the difference in vapor pressure between the air and liquid surfaces induces evaporation. The humid air leaves the evaporator, and any remaining liquid that is not evaporated is recycled to the tank [Reference: Kaddoura et al. 2021, Desalination Journal]. The capacity of the evaporation system can be increased by adding additional evaporation surfaces and/or evaporation modules, making the system modular and easy to fabricate.

A control algorithm optimizes the operating settings of CEE in real-time to minimize energy consumption while maintaining a constant evaporation target. The software makes CEE a stand-alone system able to operate in different weather conditions in an energy-efficient status. A case study simulation (Alamogordo, NM) showed competitive costs of less than 1 USD per cubic meter of evaporated liquid.

A mathematical model (predictive model) and optimization software that can simulate and optimize the system have been developed. The performance of a pilot CEE system operating in outdoor conditions has been characterized for validation. CEE has modular design that can be easily customized to different sized plants and weather conditions and is ideal for system expansion. We are in process of patenting the device and looking for investors interested in licensing, partnership, or co-development of this technology.


Key Benefits

- Custom design: modular design that can be easily customized to different sized plants and weather conditions; ideal for system expansion

- Lower energy consumption: control software updates the system’s operating settings in real-time as a function of ambient conditions to minimize energy consumption while maintaining a constant evaporation rate target

- Control algorithm and software: designed to make the convection-enhanced evaporation system a stand-alone unit; adaptable to existing and new designs of convection-enhanced evaporators; able to update its operating variables in time-variant and fluctuating weather conditions

- Low footprint: designed as a set of packed evaporation surfaces; liquid is released as films on multiple evaporation surfaces and forced convection is induced by a fan


- Volume reduction of industrial wastewater and effluents

- Onsite treatment of produced water from the oil & gas industry, textile production, electroplating

- Brine management for small and large scale desalination plants

- Brine mining

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