Integrated system model of spray flash vacuum distillation with internal heat recovery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This study proposed an integrated system model for an original spray flash vacuum distillation system that enhances and leverages the thermal non-equilibrium of the flash process via active vapor extraction to realize an internal heat recovery feature, in which partial heat from hotter vapor is recovered to cooler spray residue within the same stage of feed circulation. This system contains four interlinked sub-systems: (1) an evaporation chamber in which a vacuum-promoted spray flash vaporization occurs, with an active vapor extraction and an outflow of evaporation-cooled brine, (2) a recirculation loop of feed-brine mixture, with the circulation pump, feed heater, and spray nozzle, (3) a hybrid dual-condenser combination, with the internal heat recovery from condensing vapor to the recirculating feed and a secondary cooling by an external coolant, and (4) a vacuum source that maintains vacuum conditions to the entire system as well as discharges the non-condensable gases. The pressure of vapor phase, as the major interlinked operation parameter, is in order of sequential decrease from the evaporation chamber, through condensers, to the vacuum source while the depressurization level in each sub-system is strongly coupled with other transport characteristics such as flash vapor generation in the evaporation chamber or condensing vapor flow in condensers. Thus, the integrated system model is composed of four sub-models to describe the key processes in such four sub-systems. For the modeling validation, a lab-scale experimental system is developed to provide relevant measurements. Comparisons between model predictions against measurements show a good match. Major process characteristics (such as spray flash rate, yield rate, and operating temperatures and pressures) and operational thermodynamic characteristics (such as thermal consumption and heat recovery efficiency) are investigated parametrically. The system's multivariate impacts concerning distillate yield rate and heat recovery effectiveness are also studied with varied operating parameters. Results indicate the pronounced thermal non-equilibrium feature arising from the spray flash process can be effectively utilized via the internal heat recovery design of our system to recover up to more than half of the heat from the yield vapor. Meanwhile, the developed system model can effectively analyze various operational and parametric effects, proving valuable for system design and optimized operation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number116793
StatePublished - Oct 15 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


  • Experimental study
  • Integrated system model
  • Internal heat recovery
  • Spray flash
  • Vapor condensation


Dive into the research topics of 'Integrated system model of spray flash vacuum distillation with internal heat recovery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this