What is it about?
One solution to the world’s water shortage problem is converting salt water from the ocean and industrial waste into fresh water, which we can then use for drinking water. This process is called desalination. But given that we are in the middle of a global energy crisis, it is not enough to simply find faster ways to desalinate more water. Good desalination must happen by using minimum energy and using renewable energy sources where possible. Depending on how much salt there is in the water, the methods and machinery for desalination change, and with them, so does the energy need. This makes it difficult for scientists to create a universal systems to measure energy use versus requirements. In this study, scientists measure the different energy needs of various desalination processes. They also break down these energy needs into input energy and that which is dispersed into the atmosphere. They discuss the relationship between energy use and speed of desalination. Finally, they propose a new tool to calculate energy efficiency for a certain type of desalination process.
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Why is it important?
As the human population grows, so does the demand for water for drinking and domestic and industrial needs. Today, water shortages affects many parts of the world. Energy efficient desalination can be a very versatile solution that makes use of the vast resources of seawater while also doubling up as a means to purify and reuse industrial wastewater. It could also become one of the most sustainable ways of tackling the water crisis and even replenishing groundwater reserves. To create energy efficient processes, the first step is to be able to correctly, quickly, and easily measure or predict energy requirements. To create energy efficient processes, the first step is to be able to correctly, quickly, and easily measure or predict energy requirements. KEY TAKEAWAY: Understanding how desalination uses energy is the first step to minimizing the energy needed for the process.
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This page is a summary of: Energy Efficiency of Desalination: Fundamental Insights from Intuitive Interpretation, Environmental Science & Technology, December 2019, American Chemical Society (ACS), DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.9b04788.
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