Abstract Among the numerous options to improve the energy efficiency of desalination plants stands out the absorption heat transformer. A heat transformer is a device, which can deliver heat at a higher temperature than the temperature of the fluid by which it is fed. Solar thermal energy can be used as heat input for single effect heat transformer while the high grade thermal energy delivered by the heat transformer can be used as heat source for water desalination. In this paper, an attempt has been made to study the combination: flat plate solar collectors, a single effect heat transformer and desalination system (distillation process) used to provide a beach house located in Skikda (East of Algeria; Latitude 36.52°N, Longitude 6.57°E) with drinking water. This system produces about 500 l of drinking water per day in July. Mathematical models of the solar flat plate collectors (FPC), absorption heat transformer (AHT) operating with the water/lithium bromide solution and the overall desalination system (WP) were developed to simulate the performance of this combination system. The energy and exergy analyses are carried out for each component of the system. All exergy losses that exist in this solar desalination system are calculated. Energy and exergy efficiencies are estimated.

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