中文  |  ENGLISH

Home > Market > MENA > Here

Using CSP to convert seawater into drinking water

2020.03.06     From: brinknews

Desalination plants — which convert seawater into drinking water and water for agriculture — have been used since the 1950s in the Middle East and tropical regions of the world. While the technology has met urgent needs for clean water supplies, the environmental cost has been heavy due to its dependence on oil and gas-powered plants. 


It has been estimated, for example, that the 30 desalination plants in Saudi Arabia rely on around 300,000 barrels of crude oil each day. Beyond the fuels involved, there are environmental risks presented by the large-scale traffic from oil tankers. The World Bank has said it is critical that the desalination industry makes the shift away from fossil fuels.


Water Demand Is Growing Fast


The current output of desalination plants globally is more than 70 million cubic meters per day, and growing populations and their demands for higher standards of living mean this figure will need to grow exponentially to meet needs — and wants. 


In the Middle East and North Africa, the gap between demand for water and actual supply is said to be around 42 cubic kilometers per year, according to World Bank figures, and expected to increase by five times by 2050. The problem is shared by other desert regions such as Australia and parts of the United States, as well as regions where there’s ample rainfall but the water supply can be contaminated, such as in India and South America.


The Giant City of Neom


Solar-powered desalination, the theory and practice of a zero-carbon approach, has been under development since the start of the 21st century, but the challenge has been in collecting hard evidence of viability in terms of costs and scale.


Finally, the breakthrough has come at Neom, the megacity under development in Saudi Arabia. It is due to be 33 times the size of New York City and planned to be a living lab for futuristic urban technologies. 


The city is being built in 10,000 square miles of the desert in the Tabuk Province near the Red Sea. Such a vast and concentrated human population needs water supplies at a scale that can only be provided by a combination of technologies. 


One of these is due to be “cloud seeding” to encourage artificial clouds and rainfall, alongside an “Internet of Water” approach to focus on the efficiency and sustainability of how water is managed and used in domestic, business and industrial locations.


Solar-Powered Desalination


Desalination of seawater from the Red Sea will be the major source of water supply, using solar-enhanced greenhouse technology from Britain’s Solar Water Plc.  


Concentrated solar energy from a neighboring field of large mirrors that concentrate the sunlight by up to 50 times are used to speed up the natural process of evaporation within the domed greenhouse structures, which can be up to 80 meters in diameter and made up of a glass-conductive steel structure.



Seawater enters the dome either by gravity or pump. It then evaporates, while distillation takes place in a separate unit adjacent to the dome. Once the process is complete, the freshwater is piped by gravity flow into a system of reservoirs, at which point it can be directed to meet local needs. It might go to municipal water utilities or everglades of agricultural wetlands. In principle, it can be used as part of a process to reverse desertification, using imported top soils for reforestation of the desert. 


From start to finish, the domes provide a large-scale, carbon-neutral and sustainable solution. The quality of the water also means it is usable by high-tech manufacturers that rely on “super-clean” water for their processes.


At Cranfield, a team of researchers evaluated the patented technology by building a working scale model at 1:100 size, looking at expected productivity and costs as well as the most efficient materials for the structure and for heat storage within the dome.  


Fraction of the Cost


A number of refinements have been made to the original concept, including a separation of the evaporation and distillation processes and the addition of a concentrating solar field to supply heat to the dome. At full scale, the technology is still being trialed in terms of the volume of the liters of clean water that will be delivered from a dome each day, dependent on the particular context of the site in Neom.


A problem so far with early zero-carbon desalination technologies has been the relatively high cost compared with fossil fuel-based approaches; however, the mean costs per liter of the solar dome approach over time are expected to be a fraction of previous technologies.


Beyond Neom, others have shown interest in installing experimental plants elsewhere in the Middle East, Australia and India. Solar-enhanced greenhouse technology is predicted to have a business value of about $51 million after five years of operation.


Source: Chris Sansom-Professor of Concentrating Solar Power at Cranfield University




Upcoming CSP events:


5th CSP Focus MENA 2020(June.23-24,Dubai, UAE)

10th CSP Focus China 2020 (Beijing China) 


More CSP news and reports please visit www.cspfocus.cn 

or CSP Focus social media on LinkedInTwitterFacebook.


Leave your thoughts here

Free Reports

See more+
  • Dubai 950MW NOOR Energy 1 CSP+PV Project

    The $4.4 billion Noor Energy 1 solar thermal project will be the world’s largest CSP plant and includes a 100 MW CSP tower plant, three 200 MW parabolic trough CSP systems, 250 MW of PV capacity and 15 hours of molten salt CSP storage capacity.

  • China Large-scale CSP Projects Update

    Updating--Jan., 2020 Edition24 pagesPart 1: Background and Fact Sheet (P1-11) · Implementation and adjustment of 1st batch of CSP demonstrations· FiT policy update and prediction· Sum-up on the 20 projects technology, location, ownership and key participants Part 2: Milestones of Ch

  • Suppliers List of China Key CSP Projects (Updating)

    13 key concentrated solar power projects in China undergoing:Shouhang Dunhuang 100MW Molten Salt Parabolic Trough ProjectRoyal Tech Yumen 50MW Parabolic Trough ProjectDCTC Dunhuang 50MW MS CLFR ProjectRayspower Yumen 50MW Trough ProjectCNNC Royal Tech Urad 100MW Parabolic Trough ProjectSupcon Delingha 50MW Molten Salt Tower ProjectLuNeng Haixi 50 MW Solar Thermal Tower Plant ProjectPower C

  • Construction and Operation of SUPCON SOLAR Delingha 50MW Tower CSP Project

    40 pages in totalCompany Profile (P3-4)Construction of Delingha 50MW Tower CSP Project (P6-17)Operation of Delingha 50MW Tower CSP Project (P18-30)Issues during Commissioning and Operation (P31-39)

Upcoming Events

See more+

Project Updates

See more+

CONTACT US

Tex:+86-21-6111 0177

Email:csp@cspfocus.cn


备案/许可证编号为:沪ICP备17051021号

Wechat public platform

Follow CSP Focus for more news