Numerical study of a passive solar still with separate condenser

A. Madhlopa, C. Johnstone

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A passive solar still with separate condenser has been modeled and its performance evaluated. The system has one basin in the evaporation chamber and two basins (middle and upper) in the condenser chamber, with a glass cover over the evaporator basin and an opaque condensing cover over the upper basin. The evaporator, middle and upper basins yield the first, second and third effects respectively. The top part of the condensing cover is shielded from solar radiation to keep the cover relatively cool. Water vapor from the first effect condenses under the glass cover while the remainder of it flows into the condenser, by purging and diffusion, and condenses under the liner of the middle basin. The performance of the system is evaluated and compared with that of a conventional solar still under the same meteorological conditions. Results show that the distillate productivity of the present still is 62% higher than that of the conventional type. Purging is the most significant mode of vapor transfer from the evaporator into the condenser chamber. The first, second and third effects contribute 60, 22 and 18% of the total distillate yield respectively. It is also found that the productivity of the solar still with separate condenser is sensitive to the absorptance of the evaporator basin liner, mass of water in the evaporator and middle basins, and wind speed. The mass of water in the upper basin has a marginal effect on distillate production. Other results are presented and discussed in detail.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1668-1677
Number of pages9
JournalRenewable Energy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009


  • condenser
  • evaporator
  • natural circulation
  • simulation
  • solar radiation shield


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