Vapor-compression evaporation system and method
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According to one embodiment of the invention, a vapor-compression evaporation system includes a plurality of vessels in series each containing a feed having a nonvolatile component. A first set of the plurality of vessels includes vapor-compression evaporators and a second set of the plurality of vessels includes multi-effect evaporators. A mechanical compressor is coupled to the last vessel in the series of vapor-compression evaporators and is operable to receive a vapor therefrom. A turbine is coupled to, and operable to drive, the mechanical compressor. A pump is operable to deliver a cooling liquid to the mechanical compressor, and a tank is coupled to the mechanical compressor and is operable to separate liquid and vapor received from the mechanical compressor. A plurality of heat exchangers is coupled inside respective ones of the vessels, wherein the heat exchanger in the first vessel in the first set is operable to receive the vapor from the tank, and at least some of the vapor condenses therein. The heat of condensation provides the heat of evaporation to the first vessel in the first set, and at least some of the vapor inside the first vessel in the first set is delivered to the heat exchanger in the next vessel in the first set, whereby the condensing, evaporating, and delivering steps continue until the last vessel in the second set is reached.
Holtzapple, Mark T.; Noyes, Gary P. (2007). Vapor-compression evaporation system and method. United States. Patent and Trademark Office; Texas A&M University. Libraries. Available electronically from