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Energy and Economic Advantages of Using Solar Stills for Renewable Energy-Based Multi-Generation of Power and Hydrogen for Residential Buildings


The multi-generation systems with simultaneous production of power by renewable energy, in addition to polymer electrolyte membrane electrolyzer and fuel cell (PEMFC-PEMEC) energy storage, have become more and more popular over the past few years. The fresh water provision for PEMECs in such systems is taken into account as one of the main challenges for them, where conventional desalination technologies such as reverse osmosis (RO) and mechanical vapor compression (MVC) impose high electricity consumption and costs. Taking this point into consideration, as a novelty, solar still (ST) desalination is applied as an alternative to RO and MVC for better techno-economic justifiability. The comparison, made for a residential building complex in Hawaii in the US as the case study demonstrated much higher technical and economic benefits when using ST compared with both MVC and RO. The photovoltaic (PV) installed capacity decreased by 11.6 and 7.3 kW compared with MVC and RO, while the size of the electrolyzer declined by 9.44 and 6.13%, and the hydrogen storage tank became 522.1 and 319.3 m3 smaller, respectively. Thanks to the considerable drop in the purchase price of components, the payback period (PBP) dropped by 3.109 years compared with MVC and 2.801 years compared with RO, which is significant. Moreover, the conducted parametric study implied the high technical and economic viability of the system with ST for a wide range of building loads, including high values.

Related subjects: Applications & Pathways
Countries: Italy ; United States

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