The basis of a novel method for seawater desalination is outlined. In this work, pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO) energy is obtained and used posteriorly for the reverse osmosis (RO) process for seawater desalination. Although PRO process coupled with an RO process has been studied in the past, however, in this work, there is a fundamental difference. Instead of bringing river or wastewaters with low salinity to the coast to be mixed with the seawater to run the PRO process, here is the seawater which is deliberately salinized. This technique has one important consequence, namely, that it is no longer required to be in places where rivers or wastewaters flow into the sea. This important difference eliminates this until now somehow paradoxical requirement if one considers that regions needing desalination are generally poor of water resources. On the other hand, it is not a coincidence that regions needing desalination plants are also regions with rich open salt deposits in the neighborhood; high evaporation, high concentration of salt deposits, and the need for freshwater are all of them directly correlated. Therefore, the idea proposed in the paper is consistent with the problem. The high evaporation in the region which is causing the need for desalination also is creating the solution to do this by using the salt deposits created. The economic feasibility of this method is preliminarily assessed in terms of the thermodynamic limits of extractable energy and then with the cost of the salt required to obtain this energy which is compared with the price from electrical grid. It was found that in order to reduce the amount of salt required for the process, and to make the cost of energy competitive, it is necessary to direct the hypersaline draw solution (draw solution) in a cyclic loop and to have the highest possible volume fraction for the nonsalinized solution (feed solution). Additional R&D is required to explore the possibilities of this concept.
Deliberate Salinization of Seawater for Desalination of Seawater
University of Catalonia,
ESEIAAT C/Colom 11,
Barcelona 08222, Spain
Contributed by the Advanced Energy Systems Division of ASME for publication in the JOURNAL OF ENERGY RESOURCES TECHNOLOGY. Manuscript received May 1, 2017; final manuscript received September 7, 2017; published online October 17, 2017. Assoc. Editor: Esmail M. A. Mokheimer.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Arias, F. J. (October 17, 2017). "Deliberate Salinization of Seawater for Desalination of Seawater." ASME. J. Energy Resour. Technol. March 2018; 140(3): 032004. https://doi.org/10.1115/1.4038053
Download citation file: