International Journal of
Physical Sciences

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Phys. Sci.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1992-1950
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPS
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 2557

Full Length Research Paper

Integration of reverse osmosis and refrigeration systems for energy efficient seawater desalination

Abtin Ataei1* Morteza Khalaji Assadi1, Iman Janghorban Esfahani2, Yaser Golzari1, JongMin Oh2 and Changkyoo Yoo2
1Department of Energy Engineering, Graduate School of the Environment and Energy, Science and Research Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tehran, Iran. 2Green Energy Center, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering, College of Engineering, Kyung Hee University, South Korea.
Email: [email protected], [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 16 May 2011
  •  Published: 18 June 2011


Reverse osmosis (RO) systems have minimum energy consumption compared to other desalination methods and their energy consumption is only in the form of electric power. However, in addition to fresh water, many buildings and even many factories and industries also need air conditioning, which requires large amounts of energy. The aim of this study was to introduce a new method for combined cold and fresh water (CCW) generation by integration of a RO and a refrigeration system. In this new integrated system, the electrical power consumption of the pumps in the RO system was conserved by preheating the seawater through the waste heat recovery in the condenser of the refrigeration cycle. A further reduction in the electrical power demand of these pumps can be made by replacement of the expansion valve in the refrigeration cycle with a turbo expander. Related coding in energy efficient seawater (EES) software was used to study the feasibility study of the integration of the RO and refrigeration systems to co-generate 10 M3/day fresh water and 3 refrigeration tons of cooling as an illustrative example and the best state for this combined system was determined. The results confirmed that the proposed method provides a reduction of about 7.6% of the power consumption used in the separate production of fresh water and cooling.  


Key words: Reverse osmosis (RO), compression refrigeration cycle, seawater desalination, cogeneration, integration, energy saving.