Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews | VOL. 24

Energy consumption and water production cost of conventional and renewable-energy-powered desalination processes

Publication Date Aug 1, 2013


Abstract Desalination technologies improve water quality, greatly reduce water shortage problems, and improve quality of life and economic status. Two main technologies are currently used in water desalination: thermal (phase-change) processes and membrane processes. The primary thermal distillation processes include multistage flash distillation (MSF), multi-effect distillation (MED), and vapor compression (VC). The VC process encompasses two types: mechanical (MVC) and thermal (TVC). The common membrane desalination processes include reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis (ED and EDR). Energy cost, operational and maintenance cost, and capital investment are the main contributors to the water production cost of any of these processes. The energy cost is responsible for about 50% of the produced water cost. For thermal distillation processes (MSF, MED, and TVC), two energy forms are required for the operation: (1) low-temperature heat, which represents the main portion of the energy input and is usually supplied to the system by a number of external sources (e.g., fossil fuel, waste energy, nuclear, solar) and (2) electricity, which is used to drive the system's pumps and other electrical components. For the MVC thermal distillation process, only electricity is needed. For membrane processes (RO and ED), only electricity is required as an energy input. Renewable energy systems such as solar thermal, solar photovoltaic, wind, and geothermal technologies are currently used as energy suppliers for desalination systems. These...


Thermal Distillation Processes Multi-effect Distillation Number Of External Sources Renewable Energy Desalination Desalination Processes Reverse Osmosis Energy Cost Geothermal Technologies Renewable Energy Use Renewable Energy Systems

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