Design, Development, and Performance Evaluation of Solar Stand-Alone Membrane Distillation in Ethiopia Based on a Combined Experimental and Modeling Approach
Ethiopia has abundant water and energy resources, therefore; Ethiopia's water problem is not due to a lack of water availability, but lacks of technological resources that can provide clean water. Due to that problem, many rural communities in Ethiopia are without reliable freshwater supply. In particular, communities are situated in semi-arid to arid regions with a high potential for solar energy generation are at acute shortage of fresh water. These conditions are favorable for the use of solar energy as the driving force for water treatment systems and the use of solar energy to assist the local community and remote areas with inadequate infrastructure. In this research, the possibility of solar energy assisted membrane technology for water purification is explored, in order to improve the quality of potable water and provide a sufficient amount of clean drinking water. Among membrane-based water purification technologies, membrane distillation represents an emerging and promising approach for water purification applications at mild condition. Membrane distillation is a hybrid process combing thermal driven and membrane separation process. This technology can thus be a promising solution to our problems. The main aim of the study is to contribute to the technical understanding of solar stand-alone membrane distillation using a low-cost metakaolin based ceramic membrane as a new technology in water purification/treatment, desalination, and food processing for both industrial and drinking purposes. The research will be conducted based on a combined experimental and computational approach, as a starting point for further improvement. It is anticipated that this solar energy assisted membrane distillation system will increase the quality of potable water and solve clean drinking water scarcity problems in Ethiopia.