Honors Theses

Date of Award

Spring 5-1-2021

Document Type

Undergraduate Thesis


Mechanical Engineering

First Advisor

Tejas Pandya

Second Advisor

Farhad Farzbod

Third Advisor

Wen Wu

Relational Format



About 71 % of the surface of Earth is water, out of which around 2.5 % is freshwater. The majority of the surface of Earth is occupied by seawater which also contains dissolved salt. The salt concentration in seawater makes it toxic to humans because the human body is unable to get rid of the salt that comes from seawater. The demand for fresh water is increasing due to the rise in global population. In this context, desalinated seawater is considered as a viable resource to meet the growing demand for fresh water. Desalination process is highly energy intensive due to the high salinity of the sea water. Reverse Osmosis (RO) Desalination process has emerged as the leading and the cost-effective membrane based desalination process that is currently dominating the desalination market. Though several researches are being conducted in cost reduction of desalination process, the use of renewable energy in sea water desalination is not being widely studied. This paper presents the design of an RO desalination plant that can produce 12 m3 of water in a day, and is powered by Photovoltaic system. The paper also presents the water production cost analysis from an RO plant powered by a PV system, and an RO plant powered by purchased electricity. Furthermore, the fossil fuel that can be saved over the lifetime operation of the designed RO plant with a PV system is also evaluated.



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