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Friday, July 22, 2016
How Saudi Arabian Solar Desalination and Solar Distillation can compete with Traditional Water
Solar Power may be the answer to our Energy Problems
in the Distant future. But can it also be a potential solution to our Water
Crisis, a problem faced both locally as well as Worldwide?
This plan will produce a paltry 13,200 gallons of
drinking water a day for the workers at the Solar Park. But would a larger
Solar Desalination plant make water cheap enough to compete with surface and
The Government of Saudi Arabia seems to think so as
they have plans for a lager Solar desalination plant located at Al Khafji city
in 2017. This plant will produce some 16b million gallons of water, enough to
supply the local population.
It's being built jointly by Spanish Solar Company
Abengoa and State-owned Saudi company Advanced Water Technology and when
completed, may actually be the world’s first large scale solar Desalination
According to a World Bank report, solar-powered
desalination is expensive, costing as much as three (3) times water produced by
water treatment plants that use Utility power. This may be due in part to the
size of the solar array needed to generate the electricity needed to power a
traditional reverse-osmosis plant to desalinate water.
However, increasing efficiencies in solar panels and
the reduction of prices overall means that the US$50 cost to make 1000 gallons
of water may fall to half that level by 2050. The plant expects to benefit
initially form subsidies to keep the price down, but that may not be necessary.
Desalination vs Solar Distillation - Concentrated Heat can desalinate Water
Any volatile chemicals that survive the flashing
process can be removed by the addition of chemicals in settling tanks, the use
of cyclones to separate them via centrifugation as well as Activated Charcoal
Filters and even ozone to purify the water further.
Then the byproducts, mostly magnesium, manganese and
calcium salts dissolved in the seawater left over from the solar desalination
can be sold as VAP (Value Added Products) making the entire process not only
Carbon Neutral but also sustainable.
Solar Desalination is economically feasable. But
instead of using Solar Panels to power traditional Reverse Osmosis Equiptment,
research should be done in making large scale Solar Distillation Plants that
heat water to steam and create pure drinkable water.
This may be the route that Entrepreneurs take in
Jamaica to produce Potable Water from Seawater to compete in a deregulated