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Sustainable siting and installation of solar desalination plants in Crete

Keroglou Ioannis

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Year 2023
Type of Item Diploma Work
Bibliographic Citation Ioannis Keroglou, "Sustainable siting and installation of solar desalination plants in Crete", Diploma Work, School of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Technical University of Crete, Chania, Greece, 2023
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A phenomenon that plagues the Greek islands, is that of water scarcity. Its intensification is mainly due to climate change, tourism and agriculture. Therefore, it is necessary to find immediate and sustainable solutions to produce potable water, in order to serve its increasing demand, avoiding the environmental degradation and the strangulation of the economy. As a solution to the problem, solar desalination plants are presented, which can ensure sustainability in the way desalinated water is produced. The subject of this thesis, is the study of the potential for sustainable siting and installation of solar desalination plants on the island of Crete. The purpose of the study, is the development of two methodologies, firstly, for the mapping of the available and optimal siting areas, applying a simplified multi-criteria decision making approach (MCDM), associated with the use of Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Secondly, for the determination of the technical and financial characteristics of a solar desalination plant with capacity 1850 m3/d, which is to be installed in the Municipal Community of Kounoupidiana, Chania, in order to cover the additional water demand during the summer season. Its analysis is achieved, by using the SEDAT software to simulate ten different design scenarios. These scenarios are based on parameters, such as the capacity of plant’s solar thermal system and the participation or not, of fossil fuels (natural gas) in covering the plant’s thermal energy needs. At the same time, is examined the energy coverage of the electricity required for the desalination process, either by connecting the plant to the electrical grid, or by supplying it with energy produced by a photovoltaic (PV) system. The main findings raised by the mapping and the techno-economic analysis, highlight the great potential for sustainable siting of solar desalination plants in the wider region of ​​Crete, but mainly on its coastal areas. At the same time, they illustrate the large carbon footprint that arises by using conventional fuels to cover thermal and electrical energy. Furthermore, through the comparison and evaluation of the results produced by the simulation models, the 8th design scenario is considered as the most suitable to be applied. According to this scenario, potable water production is succeeded, with a cost lower than 3 €/m3 and a few (0,64 kg CO2/m3) or zero CO2 emissions. Last but not least, the advantage of supplying the plant with electrical energy produced by a PV system, compared to its connection to the electrical grid, is highlighted. This study contributes to the understanding of the way to identify areas suitable for sustainable siting of solar desalination plants. At the same time, it is decisive in determining and evaluating the technical and financial parameters, that should be taken into consideration, during the study of a solar desalination plant’s installation.

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