Novel procedure for the numerical simulation of solar water disinfection processes in flow reactors
A novel procedure for the simulation of solar water disinfection (SODIS) processes in flow reactors is presented. The modeling approach includes the rigorous description of hydrodynamics, radiation transfer, mass transport and bacterial inactivation phenomena within the reactor by means of a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) software. The methodology has been evaluated in a tubular reactor coupled with a compound parabolic collector (CPC). Velocity profiles have been validated versus theoretical fully developed flow, and radiation fields versus both ray tracing and experimental actinometrical measurements. Incorporation of the solar vector calculation significantly improves the model capabilities for prediction of the potential performance of the SODIS process at different geographical coordinates and operation time. A mechanistic kinetic model was used for the description of the bacterial inactivation rate with explicit radiation absorption effects, coupling the radiation field with the mass balances of viable bacterial species. Model predictions successfully reproduce the experimental data of E. coli inactivation under different irradiances of both simulated and natural solar light with a normalized root mean squared logarithmic error (NRMSLE) of 6.65% and 9.72%, respectively. Therefore, this novel methodology is confirmed as a useful tool for the scaling-up of the SODIS process to large volume systems to be installed in remote communities where safe drinking water is not available.