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
Surface clean-up technology won't solve ocean plastic problem
04.08.2020 | University of Exeter
Improving the monitoring of ship emissions
03.08.2020 | Carl von Ossietzky-Universität Oldenburg
Scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT have come up with a striking new addition to contact stamping technologies in the ERDF research project ScanCut. In collaboration with industry partners from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Aachen-based team of researchers developed a hybrid manufacturing process for the laser cutting of thin-walled metal strips. This new process makes it possible to fabricate even the tiniest details of contact parts in an eco-friendly, high-precision and efficient manner.
Plug connectors are tiny and, at first glance, unremarkable – yet modern vehicles would be unable to function without them. Several thousand plug connectors...
An international research team has found a new approach that may be able to reduce bone loss in osteoporosis and maintain bone health.
Osteoporosis is the most common age-related bone disease which affects hundreds of millions of individuals worldwide. It is estimated that one in three women...
Traditional single-cell sequencing methods help to reveal insights about cellular differences and functions - but they do this with static snapshots only...
“Core-shell” clusters pave the way for new efficient nanomaterials that make catalysts, magnetic and laser sensors or measuring devices for detecting electromagnetic radiation more efficient.
Whether in innovative high-tech materials, more powerful computer chips, pharmaceuticals or in the field of renewable energies, nanoparticles – smallest...
An international research team with Prof. Cornelia Denz from the Institute of Applied Physics at the University of Münster develop for the first time light fields using caustics that do not change during propagation. With the new method, the physicists cleverly exploit light structures that can be seen in rainbows or when light is transmitted through drinking glasses.
Modern applications as high resolution microsopy or micro- or nanoscale material processing require customized laser beams that do not change during...
23.07.2020 | Event News
21.07.2020 | Event News
07.07.2020 | Event News
06.08.2020 | Earth Sciences
06.08.2020 | Power and Electrical Engineering
06.08.2020 | Life Sciences