Experiments of a prototype wind-driven reverse osmosis desalination system with feedback control
Liu, Clark C.K., Jae-Woo Park, Reef Migita, and Gang Qin
A prototype wind-powered reverse osmosis desalination system was constructed and tested on Coconut Island off the northern coast of Oahu, Hawaii, for brackish water desalination. The system has four major subsystems: a multi-vaned windmill/pump, a flow/pressure stabilizer, a reverse osmosis module, and a control mechanism. The feedback control mechanism, developed by this study, allowed this prototype system to be operated satisfactorily under mild ambient wind of 5 m/s or less. No auxiliary power source was needed. The system operational data showed that at an average wind speed of 5 m/s, brackish feedwater at a total dissolved solids concentration of 3000 mg/l and at a flow rate of 13 l/min could be processed by this system. The average rejection rate of this prototype system was 97% and the average recovery ratio as 20%. The energy efficiency of the system was measured at 35%, which is comparable to the typical energy efficiency of well-operated multi-vaned windmills. Generally, the system’s energy efficiency decreases as wind speed increases.