The paper presents the simulation and the exergy analysis of a solar-powered reverse osmosis plant (PV-RO) located in Basra (Iraq) characterized by an average production of 5 m3 of fresh water per hour. The system layout includes the PV system powering the reverse osmosis unit. Since the purpose of the plant is to supply freshwater to a rural village, the installation of a battery pack as an energy storage is not foreseen. The influence of some relevant process parameters like ambient temperature, global radiation and salinity of the raw water are studied by means of numerical process simulations of the plant. A suitable thermodynamic model of the PV-RO has been developed and implemented into the library of a modular object-oriented Process Simulator, CAMEL-Pro™ and the code has been then used to study the exergetic performance of the plant, to help identify and quantify irreversibilities and losses in energy quality. In CAMEL, the exergy flow associated with each energy and material stream in the plant is calculated on the basis of mass- and energy balances and of a proper set of libraries of material properties, so that the values of the exergy destruction, ExD and of the exergy efficiency, ExEff, of each component can be evaluated.

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