Engineering

Novel 3D foam current collector developed for desalination

A research group at the Hefei Institutes of Physical Science (HFIPS) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences has developed a flow-electrode capacitive desalination technology with a three-dimensional (3D) foam current collector ...

Energy & Green Tech

Why can't we get our drinking water from the ocean?

For centuries, people have been trying to divine freshwater from the ocean. Ships in the 16th century carried small distilleries that could be used in the event of an emergency to boil seawater. But trying to do this on a ...

Energy & Green Tech

Solar-powered system offers a route to inexpensive desalination

An estimated two-thirds of humanity is affected by shortages of water, and many such areas in the developing world also face a lack of dependable electricity. Widespread research efforts have thus focused on ways to desalinate ...

Energy & Green Tech

Dubai says planned coal-fired power plant to instead use gas

A planned $3.4 billion coal-fired power plant in Dubai instead will be converted to use natural gas, the sheikhdom announced, amid the United Arab Emirates' wider pledge to have net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

Energy & Green Tech

Making light work of emerging micropollutants

Carbon-based organic micropollutants in water can be removed by treatment with high-intensity pulses of light in a procedure developed and demonstrated by researchers at KAUST.

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Desalination

Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from water. More generally, desalination may also refer to the removal of salts and minerals, as in soil desalination.

Water is desalinated in order to convert salt water to fresh water so it is suitable for human consumption or irrigation. Sometimes the process produces table salt as a by-product. Desalination is used on many seagoing ships and submarines. Most of the modern interest in desalination is focused on developing cost-effective ways of providing fresh water for human use in regions where the availability of fresh water is, or is becoming, limited.

Large-scale desalination typically uses extremely large amounts of energy as well as specialized, expensive infrastructure, making it very costly compared to the use of fresh water from rivers or groundwater.

However, along with recycled water this is one of the few non-rainfall dependent water sources particularly relevant to countries like Australia which traditionally have relied on rainfall in dams to provide their drinking water supplies.

The world's largest desalination plant is the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant (Phase 2) in the United Arab Emirates. It is a dual-purpose facility that uses multi-stage flash distillation and is capable of producing 300 million cubic metres of water per year. By comparison the largest desalination plant in the United States is located in Tampa Bay, Florida, and operated by Tampa Bay Water, which began desalinating 34.7 million cubic meters of water per year in December 2007. The Tampa Bay plant runs at around 12% the output of the Jebel Ali Desalination Plants. The largest desalination plant in South Asia is the Minjur Desalination Plant near Chennai in India which produces 100,000 cubic meters of water per day, or 36.5 million cubic meters of water per year. According to International Desalination Association 2009, there are 14,451 desalination plants in operation worldwide, producing 59.9 million cubic meters per day (15.8 billion gallons a day), a year on year increase of 12.3%.

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