Researchers from the University of Alicante’s research group in applied electrochemistry and electrocatalysis have developed a stand-alone system for desalinating and treating water through electrodialysis. The system is directly powered by solar energy and can be applied in off-grid areas.
Designed only for desalinating water, this is a sustainable, eco-friendly technology, as its energy is supplied by solar photovoltaic panels in a CO2-free process, thus not contributing to climate change.
According to research group director Vicente Montiel, “the new system requires no batteries and has none of the economic and environmental costs involved in managing empty batteries. Furthermore, it can be adapted and applied for treating water of many different origins, such as seawater, wells containing brackish water, treatment plants, industrial processes, etc., which makes it particularly well-suited to remote, off-grid areas”. In this sense, this equipment can be employed to obtain clean water for human consumption, irrigation, street cleaning and others, both when there is no energy grid available and after natural disasters, such as earthquakes, floods or fires.
Montiel also points out that “the technology we designed can be a potential solution to drought, just like osmosis plants”.
The research group already has a pilot and demonstration plant able to generate a cubic metre of drinking water every day. They are looking for companies interested in the commercial exploitation of the technology through licence and/or technical cooperation agreements.
“This is not a new technique, as in the Canaries electrodialysis has been employed for many years for desalination purposes”, Montiel says. “What is new about this UA-developed technology is that all electricity supplied to this system comes from a photovoltaic solar field”.
More specifically, this technique “can only be employed to treat water with a salt content exceeding that tolerated for human consumption or irrigation. If the water has other problems, for instance the presence of organic matter, this technology cannot be applied”.
A byproduct of all desalination processes is a certain amount of water which, despite the treatment, is unfit for human consumption or irrigation, as its salt concentration is much higher than it was before treatment, commonly known as “reject water”. The director of the group in applied electrochemistry and electrocatalysis states, however, that “with the UA-designed system, it is possible, for instance, to regulate reject water salinity so that it is similar to seawater salinity”.
Among other advantages, this new technology makes it possible to recover approximately 80% or 90% of all treated water. Besides, it makes the most of the maximum energy supplied by panels when exposed to sunlight, and its availability is also high, as it enables treated water accumulation for periods in which renewable sources do not provide enough energy.
The Latest on: Desalination
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The Latest on: Desalination
- Assessing the strengths of solar thermal desalinationon August 14, 2019 at 6:34 am
(Nanowerk News) The technology behind solar thermal desalination (STD) - ridding salt from water with help from the sun - has been around for centuries. In recent years, though, it has gained a fair ...
- Solution to Sydney water demand is ‘dams, not desalination plants’on August 11, 2019 at 1:20 pm
Liberal MP Craig Kelly says Sydney will need more dams, not desalination plants, as the city’s population rises. Sydney's desalination plant, which turns seawater into drinking water, has only been ...
- Sydney's desalination plant set to expand as drought continueson August 10, 2019 at 10:50 pm
The NSW government is preparing to produce more water at the Sydney Desalination Plant amid one of the worst droughts in living memory. Photograph: Sydney Desalination Plant The New South Wales ...
- Sydney Desalination Plant at Kurnell to double in sizeon August 10, 2019 at 6:07 am
Sydney’s desalination plant could be expanded to twice its current capacity under plans to cope with the growing water crisis. With dam levels falling one and a half times faster than during the ...
- Thomas D. Elias: Desalination loses more urgency in hyper-wet winteron August 8, 2019 at 7:00 pm
and their public officials two years ago, after the drought-busting winter of 2016-17, when heavy rain and snow ended dry conditions in most of the state. The idea of drawing potable water from ...
- NITI Aayog is wrong about water desalinationon August 7, 2019 at 5:11 pm
Last fortnight, NITI Aayog, the national official think-tank, came up with a proposal that -- in order to address the country's water woes -- desalination plants should be set up along India’s vast ...
- Desalination loses more urgency in hyper-wet winteron August 6, 2019 at 11:13 am
Desalination began to lose its urgency among Californians and their public officials two years ago, after the drought-busting winter of 2016-17, when heavy rain and snow ended dry conditions in most ...
- Wooden filtration membrane promises efficient and more sustainable water desalinationon August 5, 2019 at 10:37 pm
Water desalination technologies play a vital role in converting saltwater into freshwater in parts of the world where access to the latter is lacking, but there is plenty of room for improvement.
- Desalination: It is a big money game baby!on August 4, 2019 at 11:12 pm
Another good source is the Indian Desalination Association. According to the latter, there could be more than 1,000 membrane based desalination plants (the more popular technology) of various ...
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