Dynamic model for the optimisation of adsorption-based desalination processes

Jun W. Wu, Mark J. Biggs, Eric J. Hu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Climate change is leading to an increasing interest in desalination, particularly methods such as adsorption-based desalination (AD), which uses waste heat to co-generate cooling and fresh water from saline water. In this paper, a one-dimensional dynamic mathematical model of an AD system that incorporates transient mass and heat transfer processes in the stream-wise direction of the adsorbent bed is developed, validated and then demonstrated. The model compares well with both adsorbent temperature distributions and water production profiles obtained experimentally by the authors, with small deviations being linked to a number of assumptions including the omission of sorption hysteresis and multi-dimensional transport effects. The validated model indicates that the specific water production rate varies with the cycle time in a complex non-monotonic way, leading to an optimal cycle time for a finite period of operation. The model provides a good basis for optimising AD technology and processes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)464-473
Number of pages10
JournalApplied Thermal Engineering
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • Desalination
  • Process optimization
  • Silica gel
  • Temperature swing adsorption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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