Energy minimization strategies and renewable energy utilization for desalination: A review

Arun Subramani, Mohammad Badruzzaman, Joan Oppenheimer, Joseph G. Jacangelo
Water Research,Volume 45, Issue 5, February 2011


Energy is a significant cost in the economics of desalinating waters, but water scarcity is driving the rapid expansion in global installed capacity of desalination facilities. Conventional fossil fuels have been utilized as their main energy source, but recent concerns over greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions have promoted global development and implementation of energy minimization strategies and cleaner energy supplies. In this paper, a comprehensive review of energy minimization strategies for membrane-based desalination processes and utilization of lower GHG emission renewable energy resources is presented. The review covers the utilization of energy efficient design, high efficiency pumping, energy recovery devices, advanced membrane materials (nanocomposite, nanotube, and biomimetic), innovative technologies (forward osmosis, ion concentration polarization, and capacitive deionization), and renewable energy resources (solar, wind, and geothermal). Utilization of energy efficient design combined with high efficiency pumping and energy recovery devices have proven effective in full-scale applications. Integration of advanced membrane materials and innovative technologies for desalination show promise but lack long-term operational data. Implementation of renewable energy resources depends upon geography-specific abundance, a feasible means of handling renewable energy power intermittency, and solving technological and economic scale-up and permitting issues.

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