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The Trouble with Many Solar Desalination Plants - They are Not Cost Effective

By F CUBED Subscribe to RSS | January 16th 2012 | Views:

As the water supplies in many regions become lower, more effort has been put into working out and planning for desalination plants to harvest fresh water from the sea. The only trouble is that both methods of desalination are extremely energy intensive, taking up a great deal of fossil fuel. That brings to the mind of experts the possibility of solar desalination and to that end many experiments are being made to find the best way of getting fresh water from salty with the aid of photovoltaic panels.

The trouble is that at present the cost of producing fresh water from the sea by solar power is no more affordable than using fossil fuels. However, it is expected that the price of fossil fuels will rise in the coming years as it becomes ever scarcer. Thus any solar powered desalination plants will most likely become more affordable in comparison.

The two methods of producing fresh water from salt or brackish water are by reverse osmosis which pumps water through special filters that strain out the salt, or by distillation which also leaves the salty elements behind. Both are equally expensive, but we cannot do without fresh water so the cost must be borne – and especially in those countries where little rainfall is the normal state of affairs.

However, if more effort in put into developing a solar water purifier so that whatever method is used, the energy will come from solar power then savings may be significant in the future. And as solar power is used more, then improvements will no doubt be seen in this technology, bringing the price down or improving the ratio of solar power; which amounts to the same thing.

And in fact, once inventors start to think along the lines of converting salt water to fresh, there is sure to be many improved water purification systems seen around the world. Already there is an innovative one in Canada using the principle of ionic exchange. This can be done using waste heat from some other type of industry as well as using solar power to assist.

Similar plants are being experimented with in the US and no doubt in other countries. One uses forward osmosis rather than reverse osmosis. The solution is quite simple and an extremely cost effective way of producing fresh water. In addition it leaves a much smaller carbon footprint, always of interest in today’s world.

F CUBED - About Author:
For the past 5 years I have been writing informative and quality articles on topics such as solar desalination, solar water purifier, water purification systems and many more.

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