Abstract The project concerns the design, optimization, construction, assembling, start-up and extensive monitoring of a full-titanium desalinator. The operational tests took place at the site of the solar pond of the University of Ancona (Italy). Data collected during manufacturing tests and, in particular, during the start-up and the operation of the plant under various conditions, are being utilized for improving expertise on heat recovery with highly corrosive fluids, on co-generation plants aimed at producing electricity and fresh water, and on desalination fed by solar energy. One major output of the project is the assessment of data which permits an evaluation of the additional cost of the full-titanium desalinator with respect to a traditional technology, with the added benefits of (a) better heat transmission through tube bundles, which means better performance; (b) a reduced need for chemicals and maintenance activities; and (c) improved plant reliability and duration. The research program has three main aims: (1) the improvement of the economics of solar desalination, namely desalination of water through operation of solar ponds; (2) the demonstration of thermal performance, maintenance and chemical requirements, reliability and overall costs of a full-titanium desalination plant through operation of a plant of meaningful size in order to disseminate the technology of full-titanium desalination plants in the electric-energy production industry for use in co-generation units; and (3) the improvement of knowledge regarding industrial-size use of heat recovery from highly corrosive fluids.

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