Capstone project

Design and analysis of a wind-powered vapor compression cycle distiller

Water is always a commodity that is in demand. Man has always dreamed of finding a cheap, endless source of water. The runoff from the mountains and well water are good sources, but even they are being taxed due to the ever increasing size of the population. They are unreliable at best. What is called for is an efficient and cost effective way to de-salinate the saltwater that is around us in such great quantity. This method should be non-polluting and renewable. What is proposed is to use wind energy, harnessed by wind turbines, to power a vapor compression cycle distiller to produce freshwater. A vapor compression cycle distiller is not a new device. They have been used for years; originally on diesel-electric submarines, then on small diesel powered ships. They can be used anywhere mechanical power, a little electric power, and seawater are available. Steam or waste heat are not necessary. They also have few moving parts, so reliability is high. Wind turbines have been around for an even longer time, but has anyone ever put the two technologies together to make abundant, low-cost water? My original objective was to put together a small working model of a wind powered desalinization plant, capable of producing about eight gallons an hour. If this new application of existing technology can be used to produce water at a competitive rate, dry areas like Cali fornia and desert countries could be less dependent on the weather and runoff. Water would be available to all.