Investigation on the Impact of Different Absorber Materials in Solar Still Using CFD Simulation—Economic and Environmental Analysis
2. Model Description
2.1. Physical Model
2.2. Mathematical Model
2.3. Exergy Analysis
2.4. The Cost of One Litre of Distilled Water
2.5. Exergo-Economic Analysis
2.6. CO2 Reduction
2.7. Enviroeconomic Analysis
3. Numerical Simulation
3.1. Model Design
3.2. Simulation Method and Boundary Conditions
4. Result and Discussion
4.1. The Components of the Solar Still
4.2. Parametric Study for Different Absorber Materials
4.3. Environmental and Exergoeconomic Parameters
- The rise in productivity of the solar still due to the use of absorber materials black ink, black dye, and black toner is validated by means of computational fluid dynamics using COMSOL® Multiphysics software.
- The highest energy and exergy production occurred in the solar still using black toner, which is about 785 kWh and 49.8 kWh, respectively. Note that this energy and exergy production is 26.9% and 27.0%, respectively, higher than that of a conventional solar still.
- The radiation model in COMSOL® Multiphysics software can be applied to a solar still geometry to analyze its performance throughout the day.
- The lowest CPL of the solar still was obtained using black toner, which was about 0.0066 USD/L.
- Effective emissivity applied to the solar still inner walls can be used as a controlling parameter to consider the absorptivity of the water mixture.
- The CO2 mitigation and enviroeconomic parameter of the solar still using black toner were equal to 31.4 tons and 455.3 USD, respectively.
- The use of black toner as an absorbing material in the solar still caused the highest improvement in productivity, with maximum value in  increased by 32.88% while that in the simulation increased by 10.52%. Similarly, maximum values of exergy of evaporation and heat transfer coefficient are increased in  by 41.48% and 32.65%, respectively, while that for the simulation shows augmentation by 13.68% and 5.37%, respectively.
Data Availability Statement
Conflicts of Interest
|surface area of body i (m2)|
|specific heat capacity at constant pressure of air (J/(kg·K)))|
|specific heat capacity at constant pressure of vapor (J/(kg·K)))|
|vapor saturation concentration (mol/m3)|
|vapor concentration (mol/m3)|
|D||vapor diffusion coefficient in air (m2/s)|
|exergy of evaporation transferred from water to glass cover (W)|
|exergy generation in system (W)|
|view factor from surface i intercepted by surface j|
|G||moisture source or sink (kg/(m3⋅s))|
|vapor flux by diffusion (kg/(m2·s))|
|convective heat transfer coefficient of water (W/m2·K)|
|evaporative heat transfer coefficient of water|
|total radiative flux leaving from surface i and surface j (W/m2)|
|latent heat of vaporization of water (J/kg)|
|hourly distilled water yield of the solar still (kg/h)|
|molar mass of water vapor (kg/mol)|
|P||partial saturated vapor pressure (Pa)|
|p||pressure at interface between fluids (Pa)|
|q||heat flux by conduction (W/m2)|
|qr||heat flux by radiation (W/m2)|
|convective heat transfer of water (W)|
|evaporative heat transfer from water (W)|
|power transmitted from body i to body j (W)|
|thermal energy leaving surface i (W)|
|diffusive flux of thermal enthalpy due to the rate of change of air and vapor in moist air (J/(m2·s))|
|Q||heat sources other than viscous dissipation (W/m3)|
|t||time interval (s)|
|T||absolute temperature (K)|
|temperature of surface i (K)|
|temperature of surface j (K)|
|u||air velocity field (m/s)|
|ωv||vapor mass fraction|
|αp||coefficient of thermal expansion (1/K)|
|fluid density (kg/m3)|
|moist air density (kg/m3)|
|Stefan Boltzmann coefficient (W/m²/K4)|
|τ||viscous stress tensor (Pa)|
|transmissivity of water|
- The system variables have been evaluated using COMSOL® Multiphysics by means of analytic functions.
- ‘Ambient properties’ are defined through the ‘shared properties’ node of ‘Definitions’. Ambient condition is applied as per ASHRAE 2017 meteorological data that are provided in COMSOL®.
- The geometric model is developed using solid blocks and right-angled prisms.
- All the materials used for simulation are taken from the material library. Surface emissivity for the inner black painted walls of the solar still is taken as 0.9.
- The physics nodes applied in COMSOL® Multiphysics software are explained below.
- The ‘surface-to-surface radiation’ is applied to the solar still model with consideration of wavelength dependent radiation properties. Two spectral bands have been considered that are separated at 2 µm of wavelength.
- ‘Fractional emissive power’ is defined under the ‘diffuse surface’ node for each spectral band. The sum of fractional emissive power for the two spectral bands is equal to unity.
- ‘Opacity’ node is applied to the glass cover considering the wavelength dependent opacity of the glass:
- Transparent for visible light
- Opaque for infrared radiation
- ‘External radiation source’ is applied with source position as ‘solar position’. Location of experimentation for simulation model is defined by latitude ‘23.5204′ and longitude ‘87.3119′.
- ‘Heat transfer in moist air’ is applied to the model with initial temperature according to the ambient data.
- ‘Convectively enhanced conductivity’ is applied to moist air and water so as to consider the convection effect in these fluids.
- ‘Heat flux’ is applied to all the outer surfaces. It considers external natural convection according to the orientation and length of walls.
- ‘Moisture transport in the air’ is applied to the air domain inside the solar still. The initial value of relative humidity is taken as 0.1. ‘Wet surface’ node is applied to the interface between water and air.
- Multiphysics ‘heat transfer with surface-to-surface radiation’ is applied to couple the physics ‘surface-to-surface radiation’ and ‘heat transfer in moist air’. In this multiphysics, default opacity is considered from the heat transfer interface.
- Multiphysics ‘heat and moisture’ are applied to couple the physics ‘heat transfer in moist air’ and ‘moisture transport in air’. Here, the latent heat source is considered for evaporation. It uses the heat of evaporation from water.
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|Absorptivity of basin liner, ()||0.90|
|Absorptivity of water, ()||0.30|
|Absorptivity of water with black ink, ()||0.43|
|Absorptivity of water with black dye, ()||0.57|
|Absorptivity of water with black toner, ()||0.70|
|Transmissivity of water, ()||0.67|
|Transmissivity of water with black ink, ()||0.54|
|Transmissivity of water with black dye, ()||0.41|
|Transmissivity of water with black toner, ()||0.28|
|Component||Boundary Conditions||Material||Opacity||Thermal Conductivity [W/(m·K)]||Cp [J/(kg·K)]||Surface Emissivity||Heat Transfer Mode|
|Top cover||Solid||Silica glass||Opaque for infrared radiation||1.38||703||0.03||Conduction; Convective heat flux on outer and inner surfaces|
|Solar still walls||Solid||Glass wool batt||Opaque||0.034–0.048||850||Outer surface: 0.03||Conduction; Convective heat flux on the surface|
|Inner surface (black painted): 0.9||Conduction; Convective heat flux on the surface|
|Lower domain inside solar still||Fluid||Water, liquid||Transparent||0.56–0.69||4150–4250||-||Convectively enhanced conductivity|
|Upper domain inside solar still||Fluid||Moist air||Transparent||0.02–0.035||1000–1020||-||Convectively enhanced conductivity|
|Solar Still’s Material||Cost of System (USD)||Salvage Value (USD)|
|Galvanized iron sheet||35||7|
|Glass wool insulation||10||2|
|CRF||FAC (USD/Year)||SFF||S (USD)||ASV (USD/Year)||AMC (USD/Year)||UAC (USD/Year)||M|
|Conventional solar still||20||0.08||0.102||7.64||0.02||15.0||0.33||0.76||8.08||967||0.0083|
|Solar still with Black Toner||20||0.08||0.102||7.64||0.02||15.0||0.33||0.76||8.08||1228||0.0066|
|Solar still with Black Dye||20||0.08||0.102||7.64||0.02||15.0||0.33||0.76||8.08||1165||0.0069|
|Solar still with Black Ink||20||0.08||0.102||7.64||0.02||15.0||0.33||0.76||8.08||1109||0.0073|
|Type||Life Time||i (%)||UAC|
|Conventional solar still||20||0.08||39.24||618||8.08||76.53||4.86|
|Solar still with Black Toner||20||0.08||49.8||785||8.08||97.19||6.17|
|Solar still with Black Dye||20||0.08||47.2||745||8.08||92.14||5.85|
|Solar still with Black Ink||20||0.08||45.0||709||87.86||8.08||5.57|
|Type||Life Time||CO2 Mitigation (Tons)||Enviroeconomic Parameter (USD)|
|Conventional solar still||20||24.7||358.4|
|Solar still with Black Toner||20||31.4||455.3|
|Solar still with Black Dye||20||29.8||432.1|
|Solar still with Black In||20||28.4||411.2|
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Sonawane, C.; Alrubaie, A.J.; Panchal, H.; Chamkha, A.J.; Jaber, M.M.; Oza, A.D.; Zahmatkesh, S.; Burduhos-Nergis, D.D.; Burduhos-Nergis, D.P. Investigation on the Impact of Different Absorber Materials in Solar Still Using CFD Simulation—Economic and Environmental Analysis. Water 2022, 14, 3031. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193031
Sonawane C, Alrubaie AJ, Panchal H, Chamkha AJ, Jaber MM, Oza AD, Zahmatkesh S, Burduhos-Nergis DD, Burduhos-Nergis DP. Investigation on the Impact of Different Absorber Materials in Solar Still Using CFD Simulation—Economic and Environmental Analysis. Water. 2022; 14(19):3031. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193031Chicago/Turabian Style
Sonawane, Chandrakant, Ali Jawad Alrubaie, Hitesh Panchal, Ali J. Chamkha, Mustafa Musa Jaber, Ankit D. Oza, Sasan Zahmatkesh, Dumitru Doru Burduhos-Nergis, and Diana Petronela Burduhos-Nergis. 2022. "Investigation on the Impact of Different Absorber Materials in Solar Still Using CFD Simulation—Economic and Environmental Analysis" Water 14, no. 19: 3031. https://doi.org/10.3390/w14193031