0
Research Papers: Design Automation

A Computer Architecture for the Automatic Design of Modular Systems With Application to Photovoltaic Reverse Osmosis

[+] Author and Article Information
Amy M. Bilton

Department of Mechanical
and Industrial Engineering,
University of Toronto,
5 King's College Road,
Toronto, ON M5S 3G8, Canada
e-mail: bilton@mie.utoronto.ca

Steven Dubowsky

Fellow ASME
Department of Mechanical Engineering,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
Room 3-469a,
77 Massachusetts Avenue,
Cambridge, MA 02139
e-mail: dubowsky@mit.edu

Contributed by the Design Automation Committee of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF MECHANICAL DESIGN. Manuscript received November 13, 2013; final manuscript received June 10, 2014; published online July 21, 2014. Assoc. Editor: Harrison M. Kim.

J. Mech. Des 136(10), 101401 (Jul 21, 2014) (13 pages) Paper No: MD-13-1524; doi: 10.1115/1.4027879 History: Received November 13, 2013; Revised June 10, 2014

Systems such as electronics, cars, computers, and robots are assembled from modular components for specific applications. Photovoltaic reverse osmosis (PVRO) systems, which can be custom-tailored for the water demands and solar properties of particular communities, are an important potential application of modular systems. Clearly, to be financially viable, such systems must be assembled from commercially available components and subsystems (modules). Designing a system from modular components for a specific application is not simple. Even for a relatively small inventory of modular components, the number of possible system configurations that exist is extremely large. For a small community, determining the best system configuration is an overwhelming task due to lack of expertise. This paper presents a modular design architecture that can be implemented on a laptop so nonexperts can configure systems from modular components. The method uses a hierarchy of filters, which can be provided from an expert system, to limit the large design space. Optimization methods and detailed models are then used to configure the location-specific system from the reduced design space. The method is applied here to community-scale PVRO systems and example cases demonstrate the effectiveness of the approach.

FIGURES IN THIS ARTICLE
<>
Copyright © 2014 by ASME
Your Session has timed out. Please sign back in to continue.

References

World Health Organization and UNICEF, 2006, “Meeting the MDG Drinking Water and Sanitation Targer—The Urban and Rural Challenge of the Decade,” http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/monitoring/jmpfinal.pdf.
Small, C., and Nicholls, R. J., 2003, “A Global Analysis of Human Settlement in Coastal Zones,” J. Coastal Res., 18(3), pp. 584–599.
Bilton, A. M., 2013, “A Modular Design Architecture for Application to Community-Scale Photovoltaic-Powered Reverse Osmosis Systems,” Ph.D. thesis, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Tzen, E., Perrakis, K., and Baltas, P., 1998, “Design of a Stand Alone PV-Desalination System for Rural Areas,” Desalination, 119(1–3), pp. 327–333. [CrossRef]
Thomson, M., and Infield, D., 2003, “A Photovoltaic-Powered Seawater Reverse-Osmosis System Without Batteries,” Desalination, 153(1–3), pp. 1–8. [CrossRef]
Herold, D., and Neskakis, A., 2001, “A Small PV-Driven Reverse Osmosis Desalination Plant on the Island of Gran Canaria,” Desalination, 137(1–3), pp. 285–292. [CrossRef]
Joyce, A., Loureiro, D., Rodrigues, C., and Castro, S., 2001, “Small Reverse Osmosis Units Using PV Systems for Water Purification in Rural Places,” Desalination, 137(1–3), pp. 39–44. [CrossRef]
Mohamed, E. S., Papadakis, G., Mathioulakis, E., and Belessiotis, V., 2008, “A Direct Coupled Photovoltaic Seawater Reverse Osmosis Desalination System Toward Battery Based Systems—A Technical and Economical Experimental Comparative Study,” Desalination, 221(1–3), pp. 17–22. [CrossRef]
Spectra Watermakers, 2009, “SSW 3500 Datasheet,” http://www.spectrawatermakers.com/documents/Solar_Cube.pdf.
Voivontas, D., Misirlis, K., Manoli, E., Arampatzis, G., and Assimacopoulos, D., 2001, “A Tool for the Design of Desalination Plants Powered by Renewable Energies,” Desalination, 133(2), pp. 175–198. [CrossRef]
Bourouni, K., M'Barek, T. B., and Al Taee, A., 2011, “Design and Optimization of Desalination Reverse Osmosis Plants Driven by Renewable Energies Using Genetic Algorithms,” Renewable Energy, 36(3), pp. 936–950. [CrossRef]
M'Barek, T. B., Bourouni, K., and Mohamed, K. B. B., 2012, “Optimization Coupling RO Desalination Unit to Renewable Energy by Genetic Algorithms,” Desalin. Water Treat., 51(7–9), pp. 1416–1428. [CrossRef]
Bilton, A. M., and Dubowsky, S., 2012, “The Modular Design of Photovoltaic Reverse Osmosis Systems—Making Technology Accessible to Non‐Experts,” Proceedings of the EuroMed 2012: Desalination for the Environment, Barcelona, Spain, Apr. 22–26, pp. 702–712.
Kreng, V. B., and Lee, T., 2004, “Modular Product Design With Grouping Genetic Algorithm—A Case Study,” Comput. Ind. Eng., 46(3), pp. 443–460. [CrossRef]
Yigit, A. S., and Allahverdi, A., 2003, “Optimal Selection of Module Instances for Modular Products in Reconfigurable Manufacturing Systems,” Int. J. Prod. Res., 41(17), pp. 4063–4074. [CrossRef]
Gonzlez-Zugasti, J. P., and Otto, K. N., 2000, “Modular Platform-Based Product Family Design,” ASME Paper No. DETC2000-14238.
El-Halwagi, M. M., 1992, “Synthesis of Reverse-Osmosis Networks for Waste Reduction,” AIChE J., 38(8), pp. 1185–1198. [CrossRef]
Voros, N., Maroulis, Z. B., and Marinos-Kouris, D., 1996, “Optimization of Reverse Osmosis Networks for Seawater Desalination,” Comput. Chem. Eng., 20(1), pp. 345–350. [CrossRef]
Marcovecchio, M. G., Aguirre, P. A., and Scenna, N. J., 2005, “Global Optimal Design of Reverse Osmosis Networks for Seawater Desalination: Modeling and Algorithm,” Desalination, 184(1–3), pp. 259–271. [CrossRef]
Saif, Y., Elkamel, A., and Pritzker, M., 2008, “Global Optimization of Reverse Osmosis Network for Wastewater Treatment and Minimization,” Ind. Eng. Chem. Res., 47(9), pp. 3060–3070. [CrossRef]
Maskan, F., Wiley, D. E., Johnston, L. P. M., and Clements, D. J., 2000, “Optimal Design of Reverse Osmosis Module Networks,” AIChE J., 46(5), pp. 946–954. [CrossRef]
Rutman, N., 1995, “Automated Design of Modular Field Robots,” M.S. thesis, Masssachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA.
Farritor, S., Dubowsky, S., Rutman, N., and Cole, J., 1996, “A Systems-Level Modular Design Approach to Field Robotics,” Proceedings of the IEEE International Conference on Robotics and Automation, Minneapolis, MN, Apr. 22–28, pp. 2890–2895.
Leger, C., 1999, “Automated Synthesis and Optimization of Robot Configurations: An Evolutionary Approach,” Ph.D. thesis, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, PA.
Koza, J. R., Forrest, H., Bennett, I., Andre, D., and Keane, M. A., 1996, “Automated WYWIWYG Design of Both the Topology and Component Values of Electrical Circuits Using Genetic Programming,” Proceedings of the First Annual Conference on Genetic Programming, MIT Press, Stanford, CA, Jul. 28–31, pp. 123–131.
Ochotta, E. S., Rutenbar, R. A., and Carley, L. R., 1996, “Synthesis of High-Performance Analog Circuits in ASTRX/OBLX,” IEEE Trans. Comput.-Aided Des. Integr. Circuits Syst., 15(3), pp. 273–294. [CrossRef]
Lohn, J. D., and Colombano, S. P., 1999, “A Circuit Representation Technique for Automated Circuit Design,” IEEE Trans. Evol. Comput., 3(3), pp. 205–219. [CrossRef]
Lewin, D. R., Wang, H., and Shalev, O., 1998, “A Generalized Method for HEN Synthesis Using Stochastic Optimization—I. General Framework and MER Optimal Synthesis,” Comput. Chem. Eng., 22(10), pp. 1503–1513. [CrossRef]
Garrard, A., and Fraga, E. S., 1998, “Mass Exchange Network Synthesis Using Genetic Algorithms,” Comput. Chem. Eng., 22(12), pp. 1837–1850. [CrossRef]
Gross, B., and Roosen, P., 1998, “Total Process Optimization in Chemical Engineering With Evolutionary Algorithms,” Comput. Chem. Eng., 22(1), pp. 229–236. [CrossRef]
Jackson, P., 1998, Introduction to Expert Systems, Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc., Harlow, UK.
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2011, “Surface Meteorology and Solar Energy: A Renewable Energy Resource Web Site (Release 6.0),” Atmospheric Science and Data Center, ed., https://eosweb.larc.nasa.gov/sse/
Greenlee, L. F., Lawler, D. F., Freeman, B. D., Marrot, B., and Moulin, P., 2009, “Reverse Osmosis Desalination: Water Sources, Technology, and Today's Challenges,” Water Res., 43(9), pp. 2317–2348. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
National Oceanographic Data Center (U.S.), 2005, “World Ocean Atlas 2005,” U.S. Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
Hafez, A., and El-Manharawy, S., 2003, “Economics of Seawater RO desalination in the Red Sea Region, Egypt. Part 1. A Case Study,” Desalination, 153(1–3), pp. 335–347. [CrossRef]
Helal, A. M., Al-Malek, S. A., and Al-Katheeri, E. S., 2008, “Economic Feasibility of Alternative Designs of a PV-RO Desalination Unit for Remote Areas in the United Arab Emirates,” Desalination, 221(1–3), pp. 1–16. [CrossRef]
Ettouney, H. M., El-Dessouky, H. T., Faibish, R. S., and Gowin, P. J., 2002, “Evaluating the Economics of Desalination,” Chem. Eng. Prog., 12, pp. 32–38.
World Health Organization, 2011, Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality, 4th ed., World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.
Barbose, G., 2011, “Tracking the Sun III; The Installed Cost of Photovoltaics in the United States From 1998 to 2009,” http://emp.lbl.gov/sites/all/files/REPORT%20lbnl-2674e.pdf.

Figures

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 1

Simple PVRO system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 2

Modular design architecture

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 4

Sample RO topology filters

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 5

Sample system and graph representation

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 6

Sample system connection matrix

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 7

RO system water production for various power inputs

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 8

Experimental PVRO system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 9

System schematic (left) and graph representation (right) of experimental PVRO system

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 10

Solar radiation input (left) and experimental model verification (right)

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 11

Inventory for case studies

Grahic Jump Location
Fig. 12

System designed for Cyprus using original inventory (left) and expanded inventory (right)

Tables

Errata

Discussions

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging and repositioning the boxes below.

Related Journal Articles
Related eBook Content
Topic Collections

Sorry! You do not have access to this content. For assistance or to subscribe, please contact us:

  • TELEPHONE: 1-800-843-2763 (Toll-free in the USA)
  • EMAIL: asmedigitalcollection@asme.org
Sign In