Ever since seawater desalination was brought into question for its unsustainable methods of generating drinking water, studies have been trying to get hold of inventions to get it out of it. The technology, though a reasonable option for many countries, is still not environment or pocket-friendly. The desalination plants around the globe have been sending rejected RO water into the seas, threatening the marine life. The amount of electricity required to run such a plant per year equals lighting 10,000 households for a year. The cost of maintenance and the air pollution cannot even be discussed right now. It was therefore high time for companies around the world to start spending their money on Research and development of greener and cheaper technologies. Here are some ideas that have come forward in the past few years:
- Membrane technology:
Changes have been suggested to make the membrane more efficient than it is now with ultra permeability. This can be achieved through many ways and introducing graphene sieves has been taking the cake so far. Not only this but an idea of inducing the membrane with anti-scaling elements is also a good way to prevent the membrane from scaling, therefore, improving its shelf life.
- Wastewater management:
It is done by many industries as a protocol to be followed. But seawater desalination plants are in need of it as the brine, which is rejected reverse osmosis water is released, it is more harmful to the marine life than ever before. The waste product has more and more concentration of salts than the seas and so must be treated to balance the concentration amounts before release. The surrounding areas where it is released can send flora and fauna to the stage of extinction if nothing is done.
- Process change:
A suggestion has also been made to upgrade or improve the method of RO by using forward osmosis, electrodialysis or pressure reverse osmosis to drive the process. Though it has remained in research stage the study reports have shown immense promise and probably can change the way desalination is done today.
- Solar powered desalination plants:
It is the best green solution to the electricity consumption issue of the plant. Though it does require a lot of investment and there is no scalable work done on the topic, it is a step towards building a sustainable plant that works on its own. Probably why many plants have already started installing solar panels in their infrastructures.
These are some very innovative and best solutions to the problems we are facing today in desalination industry. Today, there are 18,500 plants and growing number around the world. If a suitable solution is not found before the rapid increase, we may face the same question of water which we are still facing today. Ampac USA is a leading manufacturer and distributor of water treatment systems around the world. The company has been providing reverse osmosis and seawater desalination technologies to residential neighborhoods, commercial and industrial fields for 30 years now.