Sunday, September 30, 2012

Renewable Energy Desalination Plants: Viable Solution To A Global Thirst?

Even though humankind has faced water shortage way before the dawn of civilization, will the use of renewable energy resources to power desalination plants provide a viable solution?

By: Ringo Bones

Even though reverse osmosis is currently the most energy efficient and most economically viable scheme we have of turning briny seawater to potable freshwater, it is still energy hunger and the running costs are still very prohibitively expensive to the ones who needed it most in the world’s poorest countries. Will the utilization of renewable energy sources – for example wind and solar – provide a viable solution for meeting the needs to quench the thirst of the planet’s monetarily disadvantaged?

Dr. Corrado Sommariva, president of International Desalination Corporation, says innovations in water desalination that harness renewable energy sources is the only hope for the long-term solution of the desalination industry. Earth-friendly renewable energy sources – like wind turbines and solar photovoltaic cells – had just recently been widely applied in large-scale industrial electricity generation during the first decade of the 21st Century.

 So far, Earth-friendly renewable energy sources use in the desalination industry is still the exception – not the rule and even most high-pressure reverse osmosis desalination plants still get their electric power from conventional fossil-fueled power plants. Will future trends see more use of renewables in the water desalination industry?