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Development and testing of a laboratory-scale automated blending system for the supply of water to remote communities

Gustafsson, Rhys (2016) Development and testing of a laboratory-scale automated blending system for the supply of water to remote communities. Honours thesis, Murdoch University.

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There is a need for water treatment and supply systems in Australian remote communities to mitigate water scarcity and quality issues that they often experience. A concept involving the blending of continuously produced reverse osmosis (RO) permeate with variable flow rate raw water bypass to meet fluctuations in demand has been proposed to address these water supply issues. This project developed a laboratory-scale version of the blending process with the objective to test a blending strategy and apply knowledge gained in hardware and software development. Two streams of different salinity water were used to simulate the RO permeate and raw water bypass. The raw water bypass flow rate was controlled by a solenoid. The water demand was sensed by an equalisation tank employing a continuous level sensor. LabVIEW was the software used to control the system via the blending algorithm that was developed. The blending strategy which was applied demonstrated that it is capable of maintaining steady states, with the exception of extreme cases of simulated demand. It is capable of maintaining simulated continuous operation of the reverse osmosis unit, whilst also maintaining the level of water in the tank above 50%, thereby demonstrating that the proposed field-scale system can achieve its aims. Application in the laboratory-scale system of hardware components, such as the level sensor, and software components, such as the blending strategy, should be translated to field-scale for trials. This project identified blending strategies which may be tested in future work that could allow for improved product water quality, and fit-for-purpose water supply, thereby increasing the appropriateness of this technology.

Item Type: Thesis (Honours)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Engineering and Information Technology
Supervisor(s): Ela, Wendell
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