Sea-water desalination using a desalting unit integrated with a parabolic trough collector and activated carbon pellets as energy storage medium

Amrit Kumar Thakur*, Ravishankar Sathyamurthy, R. Velraj, I. Lynch, R. Saidur, A. K. Pandey, Swellam W. Sharshir, Zhenjun Ma, P. GaneshKumar, A. E. Kabeel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Solar energy is considered the most influential source for various sustainable applications and its utilization can effectively convert brackish water into freshwater. The present work explores a novel method of augmenting the water productivity of the desalination unit using sea-water as the feed water through integrating a parabolic trough collector (to preheat the water supplied to the still basin) and activated carbon pellet (a highly porous energy storage material) to improve the rates of evaporation and water production. Experimental results revealed that the full-day water yield was augmented by 50.21% for the modified desalination unit, as compared to the conventional unit. 24-Hours water yield of modified solar still was increased by 85.2% compared to the conventional unit, owing to the synergetic effect of the parabolic trough and porous carbon. However, the integration of the parabolic trough collector significantly reduced the energy and exergy efficiency of the modified unit. The economic analysis estimated that the cost of the produced clean water was 0.010 US $ per liter for the modified unit, with a payback period of 66 days. Moreover, it was found that the modified desalination unit configuration can reduce CO2 emissions by 18.74 tons during its lifespan.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115217
Number of pages10
Early online date1 Jul 2021
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors are highly thankful to RUSA, MHRD , Government of India and State Project Directorate RUSA, Government of Tamil Nadu for the financial support provided to Anna University, Chennai, India for the successful completion of the present work. Amrit Kumar Thakur would like to acknowledge KPR Institute of Engineering and Technology for a grant of the Fellowship.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Activated carbon pellet
  • Energy-exergy analysis
  • Parabolic trough collector
  • Solar desalination
  • Water productivity
  • Water quality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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