Many types of desalination technologies are widely used around the worldwide. Thermal and membrane types dominated the market share among the other technologies (freezing, electrodialysis, and ion-exchange). Currently, multistage flash considered the power house of desalination technologies; however, in the last few decades, multi effect distillation and reverse osmosis (RO) technologies were proven as reliable and cost efficient processes. But comparing and electing the most efficient type between conventional desalination technologies is still under scope. It is very hard to decide which type or technique is reliable and thermo-economically efficient. Also, it becomes harder to decide which type is thermo-economically efficient when desalination process is combined with solar energy. In this work, different types of solar desalination processes are thermo-economically compared and analyzed. Results revel that RO and multi effect distillation-thermal vapor compression are recommended according to specific solar area (SSA m2(m 3d)), total water price (TWP $/m3), thermo-economic product cost (cp $/GJ), and the gain ratio (GR). The comparisons were performed based on two scenarios: (1) different operating conditions due to each individual technology and (2) uniform operating conditions. © 2012 American Society of Mechanical Engineers.
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