• Design and Operation of Multistage Flash (MSF) Desalination: Advanced Control Strategies and Impact of Fouling. Design operation and control of multistage flash desalination processes: dynamic modelling of fouling, effect of non-condensable gases on venting system design and implementation of GMC and fuzzy control

      Mujtaba, Iqbal M.; Alsadaie, Salih M.M. (University of BradfordFaculty of Engineering and Informatics, 2017)
      The rapid increase in the demand on fresh water due the increase in the world population and scarcity of natural water puts more stress on the desalination industrial sector to install more desalination plants around the world. Among these desalination plants, multistage flash desalination process (MSF) is considered to be the most reliable technique of producing potable water from saline water. In recent years, however, the MSF process is confronting many problems to cut off the cost and increase its performance. Among these problems are the non-condensable gases (NCGs) and the accumulation of fouling which they work as heat insulation materials. As a result, the MSF pumps and the heat transfer equipment are overdesigned and consequently increase the capital cost and decrease the performance of the plants. Moreover, improved process control is a cost effective approach to energy conservation and increased process profitability. Thus, this study is motivated by the real absence of detailed kinetic fouling model and implementation of advance process control (APC). To accomplish the above tasks, commercial modelling tools can be utilized to model and simulate MSF process taking into account the NCGs and fouling effect, and optimum control strategy. In this research, gPROMS (general PROcess Modeling System) model builder has been used to develop the MSF process model. First, a dynamic mathematical model of MSF is developed based on the basic laws of mass balance, energy balance and heat transfer. Physical and thermodynamic properties of brine, distillate and water vapour are included to support the model. The model simulation results are validated against actual plant data published in the literature and good agreement with these data is obtained. Second, the design of venting system in MSF plant and the effect of NCGs on the overall heat transfer coefficient (OHTC) are studied. The release rate of NCGs is studied using Henry’s law and the locations of venting points are optimised. The results reveal that high concentration of NCGs heavily affects the OHTC. Furthermore, advance control strategy namely: generic model control (GMC) is designed and introduced to the MSF process to control and track the set points of the two most important variables in the MSF plant; namely the Top Brine Temperature (TBT) which is the output temperature of the brine heater and the Brine Level (BL) in the last stage. The results are compared to conventional Proportional Integral Derivative Controller (PID) and show that GMC controller provides better performance over conventional PID controller to handle a nonlinear system. In addition, a new control strategy called hybrid Fuzzy-GMC is developed and implemented to control the same aforementioned loops. Its results reveal that the new control outperforms the pure GMC in some areas. Finally, a dynamic fouling model is developed and incorporated into the MSF dynamic process model to predict fouling at high temperature and high velocity. The proposed dynamic model considers the attachment and removal mechanisms of calcium carbonate and magnesium hydroxide with more relaxation of the assumptions. Since the MSF plant stages work as a series of heat exchangers, there is a continuous change of temperature, heat flux and salinity of the seawater. The proposed model predicts the behaviour of fouling based on the physical and thermal conditions of every single stage of the plant.