Simulations for Photovoltaic Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination for Hyper Arid Climates
To address the dual challenge of energy and water scarcity, this study is to simulate different photovoltaic (PV) configurations to power seawater desalination using reverse osmosis. The three technologies, i.e., thin-film, monocrystalline, and polycrystalline, crossed three scenarios: annual electrical demand, peak (capacity) electrical demand, and area available. The design variables include meteorological conditions collected locally: direct normal irradiance (DNI), diffused horizontal irradiance (DHI), global horizontal irradiance (GHI), temperature, wind speed, among others. In addition, tilt angles, shade, area, etc. were assessed using two simulation tools. Although thin-film PV modules have generally been shown to have lower efficiency than monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon PV modules, the regional meteorological conditions in coastal areas close to SWRO DPs favor them due to the relatively low temperature coefficient compared to the other two investigated technologies. For the same capacity, thin films produce higher annual electricity than monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon by 8.3% and 5.9%, respectively, but require a larger space than monocrystalline and polycrystalline silicon by 15.9% and 5.7%, respectively. The results have a wider repercussion, as sustainable SWRO is moving toward becoming mainstream for countries in West Asia, the Middle East and North Africa.