Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nuclear desalination

20.11.2007
New solutions to the ancient problem of maintaining a fresh water supply is discussed in a special issue of the Inderscience publication International Journal of Nuclear Desalination. With predictions that more than 3.5 billion people will live in areas facing severe water shortages by the year 2025, the challenge is to find an environmentally benign way to remove salt from seawater.

Global climate change, desertification, and over-population are already taking their toll on fresh water supplies. In coming years, fresh water could become a rare and expensive commodity. In the latest issue of the journal IJND, research results presented at the Trombay Symposium On Desalination And Water Reuse offer a new perspective on desalination and describe alternatives to the current expensive and inefficient methods.

Pradip Tewari of the Desalination Division at Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, in Mumbai, India, discusses the increasing demand for water in India driven not only by growing population and expectancies rapid agricultural and industrial expansion. He suggests that a holistic approach is needed to cope with freshwater needs, which include primarily seawater desalination in coastal areas and brackish water desalination as well as rainwater harvesting, particularly during the monsoon season. "The contribution of seawater and brackish water desalination would play an important role in augmenting the freshwater needs of the country."

Meenakshi Jain of CDM & Environmental Services and Positive Climate Care Pvt Ltd in Jaipur highlights the energy problem facing regions with little fresh water. "Desalination is an energy-intensive process. Over the long term, desalination with fossil energy sources would not be compatible with sustainable development; fossil fuel reserves are finite and must be conserved for other essential uses, whereas demands for desalted water would continue to increase."

Jain emphasises that a sustainable, non-polluting solution to water shortages is essential. Renewable energy sources, such as wind, solar, and wave power, may be used in conjunction to generate electricity and to carry out desalination, which could have a significant impact on reducing potential increased greenhouse gas emissions. "Nuclear energy seawater desalination has a tremendous potential for the production of freshwater," Jain adds.

The development of a floating nuclear plant is one of the more surprising solutions to the desalination problem. S.S. Verma of the Department of Physics at SLIET in Punjab, points out that small floating nuclear power plants represent a way to produce electrical energy with minimal environmental pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Such plants could be sited offshore anywhere there is dense coastal population and not only provide cheap electricity but be used to power a desalination plant with their excess heat. "Companies are already in the process of developing a special desalination platform for attachment to FNPPs helping the reactor to desalinate seawater," Verma points out.

A. Raha and colleagues at the Desalination Division of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, in Trombay, point out that Low-Temperature Evaporation (LTE) desalination technology utilising low-quality waste heat in the form of hot water (as low as 50 Celsius) or low-pressure steam from a nuclear power plant has been developed to produce high-purity water directly from seawater. Safety, reliability, viable economics, have already been demonstrated. BARC itself has recently commissioned a 50 tonnes per day low-temperature desalination plant.

Co-editor of the journal, B.M. Misra, formerly head of BARC, suggests that solar, wind, and wave power, while seemingly cost effective approaches to desalination, are not viable for the kind of large-scale fresh water production that an increasingly industrial and growing population needs.

India already has plans for the rapid expansion of its nuclear power industry. Misra suggests that large-scale desalination plants could readily be incorporated into those plans. "The development of advanced reactors providing heat for hydrogen production and large amount of waste heat will catalyse the large-scale seawater desalination for economic production of fresh water," he says.

Jim Corlett | alfa
Further information:
http://www.wonuc.org

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Conservationists are sounding the alarm: parrots much more threatened than assumed
15.09.2017 | Justus-Liebig-Universität Gießen

nachricht A new indicator for marine ecosystem changes: the diatom/dinoflagellate index
21.08.2017 | Leibniz-Institut für Ostseeforschung Warnemünde

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

At the productronica trade fair in Munich this November, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be presenting Laser-Based Tape-Automated Bonding, LaserTAB for short. The experts from Aachen will be demonstrating how new battery cells and power electronics can be micro-welded more efficiently and precisely than ever before thanks to new optics and robot support.

Fraunhofer ILT from Aachen relies on a clever combination of robotics and a laser scanner with new optics as well as process monitoring, which it has developed...

Im Focus: The pyrenoid is a carbon-fixing liquid droplet

Plants and algae use the enzyme Rubisco to fix carbon dioxide, removing it from the atmosphere and converting it into biomass. Algae have figured out a way to increase the efficiency of carbon fixation. They gather most of their Rubisco into a ball-shaped microcompartment called the pyrenoid, which they flood with a high local concentration of carbon dioxide. A team of scientists at Princeton University, the Carnegie Institution for Science, Stanford University and the Max Plank Institute of Biochemistry have unravelled the mysteries of how the pyrenoid is assembled. These insights can help to engineer crops that remove more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere while producing more food.

A warming planet

Im Focus: Highly precise wiring in the Cerebral Cortex

Our brains house extremely complex neuronal circuits, whose detailed structures are still largely unknown. This is especially true for the so-called cerebral cortex of mammals, where among other things vision, thoughts or spatial orientation are being computed. Here the rules by which nerve cells are connected to each other are only partly understood. A team of scientists around Moritz Helmstaedter at the Frankfiurt Max Planck Institute for Brain Research and Helene Schmidt (Humboldt University in Berlin) have now discovered a surprisingly precise nerve cell connectivity pattern in the part of the cerebral cortex that is responsible for orienting the individual animal or human in space.

The researchers report online in Nature (Schmidt et al., 2017. Axonal synapse sorting in medial entorhinal cortex, DOI: 10.1038/nature24005) that synapses in...

Im Focus: Tiny lasers from a gallery of whispers

New technique promises tunable laser devices

Whispering gallery mode (WGM) resonators are used to make tiny micro-lasers, sensors, switches, routers and other devices. These tiny structures rely on a...

Im Focus: Ultrafast snapshots of relaxing electrons in solids

Using ultrafast flashes of laser and x-ray radiation, scientists at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (Garching, Germany) took snapshots of the briefest electron motion inside a solid material to date. The electron motion lasted only 750 billionths of the billionth of a second before it fainted, setting a new record of human capability to capture ultrafast processes inside solids!

When x-rays shine onto solid materials or large molecules, an electron is pushed away from its original place near the nucleus of the atom, leaving a hole...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

“Lasers in Composites Symposium” in Aachen – from Science to Application

19.09.2017 | Event News

I-ESA 2018 – Call for Papers

12.09.2017 | Event News

EMBO at Basel Life, a new conference on current and emerging life science research

06.09.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

An international team of physicists a coherent amplification effect in laser excited dielectrics

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

LaserTAB: More efficient and precise contacts thanks to human-robot collaboration

25.09.2017 | Trade Fair News

Highest-energy cosmic rays have extragalactic origin

25.09.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>