Using Renewable Energies for Desalination Purposes


There is no doubt that energy and fresh water are two important ingredients of socio-economic development at any region. According to very limited access to fresh water at many places around the world, today, using desalination plants to produce potable water is a common solution to supply required fresh water all around. On the other hand, all desalination plants need energy (heat or electricity) to produce fresh water, and with regard to conventional energy resources limitation it seems that the combination of renewable energies with desalination technologies will play a unique role in energy and water management in the near future. In this paper an attempt has been made to propose appropriate sustainable energy sources for each kind of desalination system (membrane or thermal). It is clear that membrane technologies, like RO desalination plants, need energy in the form of electricity while thermal technologies, such as MED and MSF systems, use heat as the energy source. Accordingly, it is important to recognize the suitable alternative energy source for each desalination system.extraction.

Keyword: Energy, Renewable Energy, Desalination


  • World Health Organization. Guidelines for drinking water quality Recommendations, vol. I. Geneva: World Health Organization; 1984.
  • Garcia-Rodriguez L. Renewable energy applications in desalination: state of the art. Solar Energy 2003; 75:381–93.
  • Dore MHI. Forecasting the economic costs of desalination technology. Desalination 2005; 172:207–14.
  • Ettouney HM, El-Dessouky HT, Alatiqi I. Chemical Engineering Progress. September; 2009:43.
  • Oldach R. Matching renewable energy with desalination plants (Muscat, Sultanate of Oman: The Middle East Desalination Research Center, MEDRC), MEDRC Series of R&D Reports, MEDRC Project: 97-AS-006a. September 2001.
  • Kalogirou S. Use of parabolic trough solar energy collectors for sea-water desalination. Applied Energy 1998; 60:65–88.
  • MEDRC R&D Report, VARI-RO Solar Powered Desalting Study. SAIC, USA; 2000.
  • Thomson AM. Reverse-osmosis desalination of seawater powered by photovoltaic without batteries. PhD thesis. Loughborough University, June 30; 2003.
  • Trieb F, Nitsch J, Kronshage S, Schillings C, Brischke LA, Kniesb G, et al. Combined solar power and desalination plants for the Mediterranean region—sustainable energy supply using large-scale solar thermal power plants. Desalination 2002; 153:39–46.
  • C. Fritzmann, J. Lowenberg, T. Wintgens, T. Melin, State-of-the-art-of reverse osmosis desalination, Desalination 216 (2007) 1–76.
  • L. García-Rodríguez, V. Romero-Ternero, C. Gómez-Camacho, Economic analysis of wind- powered desalination, Desalination 137 (2001) 259–265.
  • M. Forstmeier, F. Mannerheim, F. D’Amato, M. Shah, Y. Liu, M. Baldea, A. Stella, Feasibility study on wind-powered desalination, Desalination 203 (2007) 463–470.
  • C.R. Henderson, J.G. McGowan, J.F. Manwell, A feasibility study for a wind/diesel hybrid system with desalination for star island, NH, Global WINDPOWER Conference and Exhibition, 2004.
  • U. Plantikow, Wind-powered MVC seawater desalination-operational results, Desalination 122 (1999) 291–299.
  • J.M. Veza, B. Penate, F. Castellano, Electrodialysis desalination designed for wind energy (on-grid test), Desalination 141 (2001) 53–61.
  • J.M. Veza, B. Penate, F. Castellano, Electro-dialysis desalination designed for off-grid wind energy, Desalination 160 (2004) 211–221.
  • Barbier E. Geothermal energy technology and current status: an overview Renewable Sustain. Energy Review 2002;6:3–65.
  • Cost Estimating Procedures. In: Desalting handbook for planners (Chapter 9). United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Reclamation, Technical Service Center, Desalination and Water Purification Research and Development Program Report No. 72 (3rd ed.) 2003: p. 187–231.
  • Hicks DC, Mitcheson GR, Pleass CM, Salevan JF. Delbuoy: Ocean wave-powered seawater reverse osmosis desalination systems. Desalination 1989;73:81–94.
  • Sharmila N, Jalihal P, Swamy AK, Ravindran M. Wave powered desalination system. Energy 2004; 29:1659–72.
  • Lisbona, J. Uche, L. Serra. High temperature fuel cells for fresh water production. Desalination 182 (2005) 471–482.