AIMS Energy, 2016, 4(3): 444-460. doi: 10.3934/energy.2016.3.444

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PV-Li-ion-micropump membrane systems for portable personal desalination

1 School of Engineering and Information Technology, Murdoch University, Australia
2 Geoscience Research & Applications Group, Sandia National Laboratories, USA
3 Energy Systems Analysis Department, Sandia National Laboratories, USA

This research presents a technical simulation of theoretically portable desalination systems utilising low-energy and lightweight components that are either commercially available or currently in development. The commercially available components are small-scale flexible and portable photovoltaic (PV) modules, Li-ion battery-converter units, and high pressure low voltage brushless DC motor-powered micropumps. The theoretical and conventional small-scale desalination membranes are compared against each other: low-pressure reverse osmosis (RO), nanofilters, graphene, graphene oxide, and graphyne technology. The systems were designed with the identical PV-Li-ion specifications and simulation data to quantify the energy available to power the theoretical energy demand for desalinating a saline water at 30,000–40,000 ppm total dissolved solid (TDS) to reliably supply the minimum target of 3.5 L d−1 of freshwater for one theoretical year. The results demonstrate that modern portable commercially available PV-battery systems and new generations of energy-efficient membranes under development have the potential to enable users to sustainably procure daily drinking water needs from saline/contaminated water resources, with the system exhibiting a net reduction in weight than carrying water itself.
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