New modeling of a brine removal system using a cooling tower and input of thermal energy with a biomass boiler

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The treatment and storage of the rejection flow of desalination (brine) through reverse osmosis, very widespread in the Murcia region, requires a large space and a high cost, since its elimination by natural evaporation is impossible, the Polytechnic University of Cartagena has acquired a brine evaporation system using a cooling tower. 

The purpose of this study is to obtain theoretical operating points capable of predicting the behavior of the cooling tower, the main component of the installation, the behavior of a biomass boiler has also been modeled, arranged to provide thermal energy to the brine with the one that can have sufficient capacity for its evaporation. To know the behavior of the tower, a theoretical model has been proposed that has subsequently been validated using the TRNSYS software, with which the models of the different components of the installation have been validated, as well as the study of the complete system-prototype with calculation of energy required to contribute to the biomass boiler. The system has been modeled to study in different situations, as well as to know the efficiency and the energy consumption derived from the evaporation of the brine.

The agricultural sector needs this water to irrigate its plantations, but there is an increasing rejection flow that has to be treated. This rejection flow has a high salinity and its discharge is controlled by the administration, being necessary its storage in rafts for its evaporation. By means of natural evaporation processes it is impossible to eliminate this rejection for reasons of space and necessary investment. By means of forced evaporation systems, this process can be faster and avoids the excessive storage of water with high salinity coming from the rejection of osmosis.

The Polytechnic University of Cartagena presents this model to the Expobiomasa 2021 Innovation Award.

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