Abstract: This paper aimed to improve the thermal performance of the stepped solar still. So, the effects of using different types of basin liners (corrugated and curved basin liners), jute cloth wick, CuO/paraffin wax, and vapor suction on the stepped solar still performance were investigated. The CuO/paraffin wax was placed into a groove parallel to the basin steps’ liner. Also, the stepped distiller was integrated with an external condensation unit. The experimental results revealed that using the corrugated and curved liners increased the productivity of the modified stepped solar still (MSSS) by 42% and 33%, respectively. In addition, using the corrugated liner with wick, corrugated liner with wick and CuO/paraffin wax, corrugated liner with wick, CuO/paraffin wax, and vapor suction improved the freshwater productivity of the distiller by 95%, 127%, and 170%, respectively. At the last studied case (MSSS with corrugated liner, wick, CuO/paraffin wax, and vapor suction), the daily freshwater productivities of the MSSS and conventional still (CSS) were 7000 and 2600 mL/m2·day, respectively. Also, the thermal efficiency of MSSS was calculated as 59% which was obtained at the last studied case. And the efficiency of the CSS was 35%. Besides, the distilled water cost of CSS and MSSS with corrugated liner with wick, CuO/paraffin wax, and vapor suction was 0.023 and 0.014 $/L, respectively.
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