Thermal Desalination as Cooling for a Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Brayton Cycle

Prashant Sharan, Ty Neises, Craig Turchi

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Multi-effect distillation (MED) is commonly used for seawater desalination. MED offers numerous advantages over other existing thermal desalination systems. MED systems are commonly integrated with a steam-Rankine power cycle, for simultaneous production of power and freshwater. Low-pressure steam is extracted from the power cycle to act as a heat source for the MED. The operating temperature of the low-pressure steam must be high enough to drive the MED system. This necessitates an increase in the operating pressure on the power-cycle condenser, resulting in a decrease in power production. Hence, integration of MED with the steam-Rankine cycle is a parasitic load for the power plant. The supercritical carbon dioxide (sCO2) Brayton cycle is being pursued as a new power cycle because of its potential for higher energy efficiency and compact turbomachinery. The sCO2 exiting the low-temperature recuperator is quite hot and is cooled as a sensible-heat fluid before flowing back to the compressor. This heat is sufficiently hot to drive an MED system, rather than being rejected to the environment. Such a thermal integration could lead to simultaneous production of power and potable water without affecting the sCO2 Brayton cycle efficiency. The objective of the present study is to maximize the distillate production from MED without acting as a parasitic load. Optimal feed configuration for the MED is identified for maximizing the distillate concentration. Techno-economic analysis showed the cost of distillate for MED is about 30% lower than distillate produced by reverse osmosis (RO).
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 2018
Event6th International Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles Symposium - Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Duration: 27 Mar 201829 Mar 2018


Conference6th International Supercritical CO2 Power Cycles Symposium
CityPittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Bibliographical note

Available online from the symposium website:

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-5500-70848


  • Brayton cycle
  • distillate production
  • distillation
  • parasitic load
  • seawater desalination


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