The desalination crew chose this project based on its wide impact. A transportable desalination system would grant access to drinking water in places that either have low-quality water or low supply, or somewhere that has suffered a disaster which contaminated the water.
Our goal is to design and build a reverse osmosis (RO) desalination system. Once we get the brackish system going, it’s possible to convert it to seawater if the funding is available. A previous graduate student, Lin Lin, was working with an RO filtration system, but her focus was to ultrasonically test for defective membranes. We will be working with her – and her University of Southern Maine students, who will be creating the data acquisition system – to convert the filtration system to our purposes.
We face several challenges in this conversion:
• First, we need to make sure the system is mechanically sound
• We must be able to test the salinity – as well as other factors like total dissolved solids – of the permeate, to see the effectiveness of the system
• A new pump, which will supply the necessary pressure and flow rate for the system we will design
• Pre- and post-treatment systems must be designed and built to make the end product fit to drink
• We need some way to monitor membrane fouling
• Parts such as throttling valves and pressure gages must be selected
• The parts and plumbing must be assembled into a desalination system
It's the end of the semester and our project is finished! You can learn more about all our hard work throughout the year in our Final Report
and Project Poster
With our lab under construction this week, we are focusing most of our time completing the fluid mechanics analysis of our system.
Testing continues! After a brief test run last week, we have fixed our air leak problem by removing the carbon filter and a cracked flowmeter. Check out the video
of the test!