DESALINATION is a process that extracts mineral components from saline water . More generally, desalination refers to the removal of salts and minerals from a target substance, as in soil desalination , which is an issue for agriculture.
Saltwater is desalinated to produce water suitable for human consumption or irrigation . One by-product of desalination is salt . Desalination is used on many seagoing ships and submarines . Most of the modern interest in desalination is focused on cost-effective provision of fresh water for human use. Along with recycled wastewater , it is one of the few rainfall-independent water sources.
Due to its energy consumption, desalinating sea water is generally more costly than fresh water from rivers or groundwater , water recycling and water conservation . However, these alternatives are not always available and depletion of reserves is a critical problem worldwide. Currently, approximately 1% of the world's population is dependent on desalinated water to meet daily needs, but the UN expects that 14% of the world's population will encounter water scarcity by 2025.
Desalination is particularly relevant in dry countries such as Australia , which traditionally have relied on collecting rainfall behind dams for water.
According to the International
Desalination Association, in June
2015, 18,426 desalination plants operated worldwide, producing 86.8
million cubic meters per day, providing water for 300 million people.
This number increased from 78.4 million cubic meters in 2013, a
10.71% increase in 2 years. The single largest desalination project is
Ras Al-Khair in
* 1 Methods
* 1.1 Vacuum distillation * 1.2 Multi-stage flash distillation * 1.3 Multiple-effect distillation * 1.4 Vapor-compression distillation * 1.5 Reverse osmosis * 1.6 Freeze-thaw * 1.7 Solar evaporation * 1.8 Electrodialysis reversal
* 2 Considerations and criticism
* 2.4 Environmental
* 2.4.1 Intake * 2.4.2 Outflow * 2.4.3 Alternatives without pollution * 2.4.4 Alternatives to desalination * 2.4.5 Public health concerns
* 2.5 Other issues
* 3 Experimental techniques
* 3.1 Waste heat * 3.2 Low-temperature thermal * 3.3 Thermoionic process * 3.4 Evaporation and condensation for crops
* 3.5 Other approaches
* 3.5.1 Forward osmosis * 3.5.2 Small-scale solar * 3.5.3 Passarell * 3.5.4 Geothermal * 3.5.5 Nanotechnology * 3.5.6 Biomimesis * 3.5.7 Electrochemical * 3.5.8 Electrokinetic shocks
* 4 Facilities * 5 In nature * 6 History * 7 See also * 8 References * 9 Further reading * 10 External links
Reverse osmosis desalination plant in Barcelona, Spain
There are several methods. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
The traditional process used in these operations is vacuum distillation —essentially boiling it to leave impurities behind. In desalination, atmospheric pressure is reduced, thus lowering the required temperature needed. Liquids boil when the vapor pressure equals the ambient pressure and vapor pressure increases with temperature. Effectively, liquids boil at a lower temperature, when the ambient atmospheric pressure is less than usual atmospheric pressure. Thus, because of the reduced pressure, low-temperature "waste" heat from electrical power generation or industrial processes can be employed.
MULTI-STAGE FLASH DISTILLATION
Multiple-effect distillation (MED) works through a series of steps called “effects”. Incoming water is sprayed onto vertically or, more commonly, horizontally oriented pipes which are then heated to generate steam. The steam is then used to heat the next batch of incoming sea water. To increase efficiency, the steam used to heat the sea water can be taken from nearby power plants. Although this method is the most thermodynamically efficient, a few limitations exist such as a max temperature and max number of effects.
Vapor-compression evaporation involves using either a mechanical compressor or a jet stream to compress the vapor present above the liquid. The compressed vapor is then used to provide the heat needed for the evaporation of the rest of the sea water. Since this system only requires power, it is more efficient if kept at a small scale.
The principal competing process uses membranes to desalt saline
water, principally applying reverse osmosis (RO) . The RO membrane
processes use semipermeable membranes and applied pressure (on the
membrane feed side) to preferentially induce water permeation through
the membrane while rejecting salts.
Reverse osmosis plant membrane
systems typically use less energy than thermal desalination processes.
Desalination processes are driven by either thermal (e.g.,
distillation) or electrical (e.g., RO) as the primary energy types.
The Reverse Osmosis process is not maintenance free. Various factors interfere with efficiency: ionic contamination (calcium, magnesium etc.); DOC ; bacteria; viruses; colloids biofouling and scaling . In extreme cases destroying the RO membranes. To mitigate damage, various pretreatment stages are introduced. Anti-scaling inhibitors include acids and other agents like the organic polymers Polyacrylamide and Polymaleic Acid), Phosphonates and Polyphosphates . Inhibitors for fouling are biocides (as oxidants against bacteria and viruses), like chlorine, ozone, sodium or calcium hypochlorite. At regular intervals, depending on the membrane contamination; fluctuating seawater conditions; or prompted by monitoring processes the membranes need to be cleaned, known as emergency or shock-flushing. Flushing is done with inhibitors in a fresh water solution. Thus the system needs to go offline. This procedure is environmental risky, since contaminated water is rejected into the ocean without treatment. Sensitive marine habitats can be irreversibly damaged.
Freeze-thaw desalination uses freezing to remove fresh water from frozen seawater.
One method, invented by Alexander Zarchin , used freezing and vacuuming of salt from seawater.
Solar evaporation mimics the natural water cycle, in which the sun heats the sea water enough for evaporation to occur. After evaporation, the water vapor is condensed onto a cool surface.
Electrodialysis utilizes electric potential to move the salts through a membrane.
CONSIDERATIONS AND CRITICISM
A minimum energy consumption for seawater desalination of around 1 kWh/m3 has been determined, excluding prefiltering and intake/outfall pumping. Under 2 kWh/m3 has been achieved with reverse osmosis membrane technology, leaving limited scope for further energy reductions.
Supplying all US domestic water by desalination would increase domestic energy consumption by around 10%, about the amount of energy used by domestic refrigerators. Domestic consumption is a relatively small fraction of the total water usage.
Electrical energy (kWh/m3) 4–6 1.5–2.5 7–12 3–5.5
Thermal energy (kWh/m3) 50–110 60–110 None None
Electrical equivalent of thermal energy (kWh/m3) 9.5–19.5 5–8.5 None None
Total equivalent electrical energy (kWh/m3) 13.5–25.5 6.5–11 7–12 3–5.5
Note: "Electrical equivalent" refers to the amount of electrical energy that could be generated using a given quantity of thermal energy and appropriate turbine generator. These calculations do not include the energy required to construct or refurbish items consumed in the process.
Cogeneration is generating excess heat and electricity generation
from a single process.
Cogeneration can provide usable heat for
desalination in an integrated, or "dual-purpose", facility where a
power plant provides the energy for desalination. Alternatively, the
facility's energy production may be dedicated to the production of
potable water (a stand-alone facility), or excess energy may be
produced and incorporated into the energy grid.
various forms, and theoretically any form of energy production could
be used. However, the majority of current and planned cogeneration
desalination plants use either fossil fuels or nuclear power as their
source of energy. Most plants are located in the
The current trend in dual-purpose facilities is hybrid configurations, in which the permeate from reverse osmosis desalination is mixed with distillate from thermal desalination. Basically, two or more desalination processes are combined along with power production. Such facilities have been implemented in Saudi Arabia at Jeddah and Yanbu .
A typical Supercarrier in the US military uses nuclear power to desalinate 400,000 US gallons (1,500,000 l; 330,000 imp gal) of water per day.
Costs of desalinating sea water (infrastructure, energy, and maintenance) are generally higher than fresh water from rivers or groundwater , water recycling , and water conservation , but alternatives are not always available. Desalination costs in 2013 ranged from US$0.45 to $1.00/cubic metre ($US2 to 4/kgal). (1 cubic meter is about 264 gallons.) More than half of the cost comes directly from energy cost, and since energy prices are very volatile, actual costs can vary substantially.
The cost of untreated fresh water in the developing world can reach US$5/cubic metre.
Average water consumption and cost of supply by sea water desalination at US$1 per cubic metre(±50%) AREA CONSUMPTION USGAL/PERSON/DAY CONSUMPTION LITRE/PERSON/DAY DESALINATED WATER COST US$/PERSON/DAY
USA 100 378 0.38
Europe 50 189 0.19
Africa 15 57 0.06
UN recommended minimum 13 49 0.05
Factors that determine the costs for desalination include capacity and type of facility, location, feed water, labor, energy, financing and concentrate disposal. Desalination stills control pressure, temperature and brine concentrations to optimize efficiency. Nuclear-powered desalination might be economical on a large scale.
While noting costs are falling, and generally positive about the
technology for affluent areas in proximity to oceans, a 2004 study
argued, "Desalinated water may be a solution for some water-stress
regions, but not for places that are poor, deep in the interior of a
continent, or at high elevation. Unfortunately, that includes some of
the places with biggest water problems.", and, "Indeed, one needs to
lift the water by 2,000 m (6,600 ft), or transport it over more than
1,600 km (990 mi) to get transport costs equal to the desalination
costs. Thus, it may be more economical to transport fresh water from
somewhere else than to desalinate it. In places far from the sea, like
In 2014, the Israeli facilities of Hadera, Palmahim, Ashkelon, and
Sorek were desalinizing water for less than US$0.40 per cubic meter.
As of 2006, Singapore was desalinating water for US$0.49 per cubic
meter. The city of Perth began operating a reverse osmosis seawater
desalination plant in 2006. A desalination plant now operates in
The Perth desalination plant is powered partially by renewable energy
Emu Downs Wind Farm . A wind farm at
Bungendore in New
South Wales was purpose-built to generate enough renewable energy to
In December 2007, the South Australian government announced it would build a seawater desalination plant for the city of Adelaide, Australia, located at Port Stanvac . The desalination plant was to be funded by raising water rates to achieve full cost recovery.
A January 17, 2008, article in the
Wall Street Journal stated, "In
November, Connecticut-based Poseidon Resources Corp. won a key
regulatory approval to build the $300 million water-desalination plant
in Carlsbad , north of
Poseidon Resources made an unsuccessful attempt to construct a desalination plant in Tampa Bay, FL, in 2001. The board of directors of Tampa Bay Water was forced to buy the plant from Poseidon in 2001 to prevent a third failure of the project. Tampa Bay Water faced five years of engineering problems and operation at 20% capacity to protect marine life. The facility reached capacity only in 2007.
In 2008, a Energy Recovery Inc. was desalinating water for $0.46 per cubic meter.
Factors that determine the costs for desalination include capacity and type of facility, location, feed water, labor, energy, financing and concentrate disposal.
Kwinana Desalination Plant opened in Perth in 2007.
This section NEEDS ADDITIONAL CITATIONS FOR VERIFICATION . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources . Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (January 2012) (Learn how and when to remove this template message )
Desalination processes produce large quantities of brine , possibly at above ambient temperature, and contain residues of pretreatment and cleaning chemicals, their reaction byproducts and heavy metals due to corrosion. Chemical pretreatment and cleaning are a necessity in most desalination plants, which typically includes prevention of biofouling, scaling, foaming and corrosion in thermal plants, and of biofouling, suspended solids and scale deposits in membrane plants.
To limit the environmental impact of returning the brine to the ocean, it can be diluted with another stream of water entering the ocean, such as the outfall of a wastewater treatment or power plant. With medium to large power plant and desalination plants, the power plant's cooling water flow is likely to be several times larger than that of the desalination plant, reducing the salinity of the combination. Another method to dilute the brine is to mix it via a diffuser in a mixing zone. For example, once a pipeline containing the brine reaches the sea floor, it can split into many branches, each releasing brine gradually through small holes along its length. Mixing can be combined with power plant or wastewater plant dilution.
Brine is denser than seawater and therefore sinks to the ocean bottom and can damage the ecosystem. Careful reintroduction can minimize this problem. Typical ocean conditions allow for rapid dilution, thereby minimizing harm.
Alternatives Without Pollution
Some methods of desalination, particularly in combination with evaporation ponds , solar stills , and condensation trap (solar desalination ), do not discharge brine. They do not use chemicals or burn fossil fuels. They do not work with membranes or other critical parts, such as components that include heavy metals, thus do not produce toxic waste (and high maintenance).
A new approach that works like a solar still, but on the scale of industrial evaporation ponds is the integrated biotectural system . It can be considered "full desalination" because it converts the entire amount of saltwater intake into distilled water. One of the advantages of this system is the feasibility for inland operation. Standard advantages also include no air pollution and no temperature increase of endangered natural water bodies from power plant cooling-water discharge. Another important advantage is the production of sea salt for industrial and other uses. As of 2015, 50% of the world's sea salt production relies on fossil energy sources.
Alternatives To Desalination
Increased water conservation and efficiency remain the most
cost-effective approaches in areas with a large potential to improve
the efficiency of water use practices.
A proposed alternative to desalination in the American Southwest is the commercial importation of bulk water from water-rich areas either by oil tankers converted to water carriers, or pipelines. The idea is politically unpopular in Canada, where governments imposed trade barriers to bulk water exports as a result of a North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) claim.
Public Health Concerns
Desalination removes iodine from water and could increase the risk of iodine deficiency disorders. Israeli researchers claimed a possible link between seawater desalination and iodine deficiency, finding deficits among euthyroid adults exposed to iodine-poor water concurrently with an increasing proportion of their area's drinking water from seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). They later found probable iodine deficiency disorders in a population reliant on desalinated seawater. A possible link of heavy desalinated water use and national iodine deficiency was suggested by Israeli researchers. They found a high burden of iodine deficiency in the general population of Israel: 62% of school-age children and 85% of pregnant women fall below the WHO’s adequacy range. They also pointed out the national reliance on iodine-depleted desalinated water, the absence of a universal salt iodization program and reports of increased use of thyroid medication in Israel as a possible reasons that the population’s iodine intake is low. In the year that the survey was conducted, the amount of water produced from the desalination plants constitutes about 50% of the quantity of fresh water supplied for all needs and about 80% of the water supplied for domestic and industrial needs in Israel.
Due to the nature of the process, there is a need to place the plants on approximately 25 acres of land on or near the shoreline. In the case a plant is built inland, pipes have to be laid into the ground to allow for easy intake and outtake. However, once the pipes are laid into the ground, they have a possibility of leaking into and contaminating nearby aquifers. Aside from environmental risks, the noise generated by certain types of desalination plants can be loud.
Other desalination techniques include:
Diesel generators commonly provide electricity in remote areas. About
40%–50% of the energy output is low-grade heat that leaves the
engine via the exhaust. Connecting a membrane distillation system to
the diesel engine exhaust repurposes this low-grade heat for
desalination. The system actively cools the diesel generator ,
improving its efficiency and increasing its electricity output. This
results in an energy-neutral desalination solution. An example plant
was commissioned by Dutch company
Aquaver in March 2014 for
Originally stemming from ocean thermal energy conversion research, low-temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) takes advantage of water boiling at low pressure, even at ambient temperature . The system uses pumps to create a low-pressure, low-temperature environment in which water boils at a temperature gradient of 8–10 °C (46–50 °F) between two volumes of water. Cool ocean water is supplied from depths of up to 600 m (2,000 ft). This water is pumped through coils to condense the water vapor. The resulting condensate is purified water. LTTD may take advantage of the temperature gradient available at power plants, where large quantities of warm wastewater are discharged from the plant, reducing the energy input needed to create a temperature gradient.
Experiments were conducted in the US and Japan to test the approach.
In Japan, a spray-ﬂash evaporation system was tested by Saga
University. In Hawaii, the National
In October 2009, Saltworks Technologies announced a process that uses solar or other thermal heat to drive an ionic current that removes all sodium and chlorine ions from the water using ion-exchange membranes.
EVAPORATION AND CONDENSATION FOR CROPS
The Seawater greenhouse uses natural evaporation and condensation processes inside a greenhouse powered by solar energy to grow crops in arid coastal land.
Adsorption-based desalination (AD) relies on the moisture absorption properties of certain materials such as Silica Gel.
One process was commercialized by Modern
The United States, France and the United Arab Emirates are working to develop practical solar desalination . AquaDania's WaterStillar has been installed at Dahab, Egypt, and in Playa del Carmen, Mexico. In this approach, a solar thermal collector measuring two square metres can distill from 40 to 60 litres per day from any local water source – five times more than conventional stills. It eliminates the need for plastic PET bottles or energy-consuming water transport. In Central California, a startup company WaterFX is developing a solar-powered method of desalination that can enable the use of local water, including runoff water that can be treated and used again. Salty groundwater in the region would be treated to become freshwater, and in areas near the ocean, seawater could be treated.
The Passarell process uses reduced atmospheric pressure rather than
heat to drive evaporative desalination. The pure water vapor generated
by distillation is then compressed and condensed using an advanced
compressor. The compression process improves distillation efficiency
by creating the reduced pressure in the evaporation chamber. The
compressor centrifuges the pure water vapor after it is drawn through
a demister (removing residual impurities) causing it to compress
against tubes in the collection chamber. The compression of the vapor
increases its temperature. The heat is transferred to the input water
falling in the tubes, vaporizing the water in the tubes.
Geothermal energy can drive desalination. In most locations, geothermal desalination beats using scarce groundwater or surface water, environmentally and economically.
Nanotube membranes of higher permeability than current generation of membranes may lead to eventual reduction in the footprint of RO desalination plants. It has also been suggested that the use of such membranes will lead to reduction in the energy needed for desalination.
Hermetic, sulphonated nano-composite membranes have shown to be capable of removing a various contaminants to the parts per billion level. s, have little or no susceptibility to high salt concentration levels.
In 2008, Siemens
A process employing electrokinetic shocks waves can be used to accomplish membraneless desalination at ambient temperature and pressure. In this process, anions and cations in salt water are exchanged for carbonate anions and calcium cations, respectively using electrokinetic shockwaves. Calcium and carbonate ions react to form calcium carbonate , which precipitates, leaving fresh water. The theoretical energy efficiency of this method is on par with electrodialysis and reverse osmosis .
Main article: Desalination facilities
Estimates vary widely between 15,000–20,000 desalination plants producing more than 20,000 m3/day. Micro desalination plants operate near almost every natural gas or fracking facility found in the United States.
Evaporation of water over the oceans in the water cycle is a natural desalination process.
The formation of sea ice produces ice with little salt, much lower than in seawater.
Seabirds distill seawater using countercurrent exchange in a gland with a rete mirabile . The gland secretes highly concentrated brine stored near the nostrils above the beak. The bird then "sneezes" the brine out. As freshwater is not usually available in their environments, some seabirds, such as pelicans , petrels , albatrosses , gulls and terns , possess this gland, which allows them to drink the salty water from their environments while they are far from land.
Desalination has been known to history for millennia as both a
concept, and later practice, though in a limited form. The ancient
Before the Industrial Revolution, desalination was primarily of concern to oceangoing ships, which otherwise needed to keep on board supplies of fresh water. When Protector (1779 frigate) was sold to Denmark in the 1780s (as the ship Hussaren) the desalination plant was studied and recorded in great detail. In the newly formed United States, Thomas Jefferson catalogued heat-based methods going back to the 1500s, and formulated practical advice that was publicized to all U.S. ships on the backs of sailing clearance permits.
Significant research into improved desalination methods occurred in
Research also took place at state universities in California,
followed by development at the
Dow Chemical Company
Adelaide Desalination Plant
Atmospheric water generator
* ^ "Desalination" (definition), The American Heritage Science
Dictionary, Houghton Mifflin Company, via dictionary.com. Retrieved
August 19, 2007.
* ^ "Australia Aids China In
* ^ "Modern