Abstract

Desalination is becoming a popular and necessary process for producing fresh water in deserts and areas across the word affected by drought. Small Modular Reactor (SMR) technology is attractive for this application because it cogenerates steam and electricity to run multiple desalination processes at once. Multi-Effect Distillation (MED) technology requires steam to evaporate fresh water, while Reverse Osmosis (RO) only requires electricity for desalination. While RO typically produces fresh water more efficiently than MED, condensate from the evaporators can be flashed and sent to an absorption chiller to produce chilled water for space cooling. This study uses a 6-effect backward feed evaporator model to analyze revenues and savings from total freshwater and chilled water produced and determine the steam pressure from the SMR and loading schedule to produce maximum revenue for the specified desalination facility. Three loading schedules were chosen for this study: base loading, day/night loading, and diurnal demand loading, and revenues were calculated by closely matching a demand of 50,000 people. Day/night loading resulted in significantly more revenue and chilled water production than the other two schedules. The coupling of RO and MED systems to a small modular reactor could result in increased revenue for a desalination plant while meeting the freshwater demands of a community.

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