What is desalination?
Desalination is a process to remove salt from water to make it drinkable. However, the process is quite complicated and needs specialised equipment.
There is a worldwide increase in the use of desalination plants. Currently, the Middle East is the largest user of this process, with increases being noted in Europe, North America and the Caribbean. The scarcity of fresh water is critical in many arid countries that do not have freshwater resources. Nature uses solar desalination evaporation to create rain, which is our main supply of fresh water, but many hot countries have little or no rain on a regular basis.
Desalination – also called desalinization or desalting – has been used for generations. In ancient times, this process was used on ships to give sailors drinking water, and the basic treatment process has not changed a great deal. The most popular method uses heat to evaporate water, leaving the salt behind. Another method that uses less energy is reverse osmosis; this method uses a pump to push water under pressure through a semi-permeable membrane into a solution where the solvent concentration is higher. This equalises the material concentrations on either side of the membrane.
Despite improvements over the years, the energy requirements for desalination are very high, so new technologies using less energy are being explored. One such idea is using wind turbines and solar panels to power the plant making renewable energy work, thereby reducing the use of fossil fuels. Areas close to the coastline that have access to plenty of sunshine and wind will benefit from this process. There are many companies specialising in wastewater treatments using technologies such as inline static mixers like https://www.statiflo.com/, who are a leading company in static mixers.
When setting up a desalination plant, there are many factors to determine if the plant is going to be economically viable. The community’s distance from seawater and freshwater sources and its sustainability, the fuel choice for running the plant, and the overall running costs of the infrastructure all need to be considered. There are also the environmental costs; damage to marine life can be caused by drawing water from the sea.
We as humans need to drink water to survive. If there is not enough to go around, these processes are essential for the continuation of the human race.