desalination of water

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to desalination of water: Desalination plants

desalination of water:

see water, desalination ofwater, desalination of,
process of removing soluble salts from water to render it suitable for drinking, irrigation, or industrial uses. The principal methods used for desalination include distillation (or evaporation), electrodialysis, freezing, ion exchange, and reverse
..... Click the link for more information.

water, desalination of,

process of removing soluble salts from water to render it suitable for drinking, irrigation, or industrial uses. The principal methods used for desalination include distillationdistillation,
process used to separate the substances composing a mixture. It involves a change of state, as of liquid to gas, and subsequent condensation. The process was probably first used in the production of intoxicating beverages.
..... Click the link for more information.
 (or evaporation), electrodialysis, freezing, ion exchange, and reverse osmosis.

In distillation saltwater is heated in one container to make the water evaporate, leaving the salt behind. The desalinated vapor is then condensed to form water in a separate container. Although long known, distillation has found limited application in water supply because of the fuel costs involved in converting saltwater to vapor. Representative of the early attempts in this direction were the solar distillation methods employed (c.49 B.C.) by the legions of Julius Caesar for using water from the Mediterranean. Modern technological advances led to the development of more efficient distillation units using solar energy; however, since these units have small capacities, their utility is restricted.

Distillation plants having high capacities and using combustible fuels employ various devices to conserve heat. In one common system a vacuum is applied to reduce the boiling point of the water, or a spray or thin film of water is exposed to high heat, causing flash evaporation; the water is flashed repeatedly, yielding fresh distilled water. This multistage flash distillation method is used in more than 2,000 desalination plants, including one in Saudi Arabia that produces 250 million gallons of freshwater per day.

Another method of desalination is by electrodialysis. When salt dissolves in water, it splits up into charged particles called ions. Placed in a container with a negative electrode at one end and a positive electrode at the other, the ions are filtered by the membranes as they are attracted toward the electrodes; they become trapped between semipermeable membranes, leaving outside the membranes a supply of desalinated water that can be tapped. The first large installation using this process began operating in South Africa in 1958, but its electrical demands make it impractical except where such energy is abundant.

By far the most promising approach is the reverse osmosis process, in which pressure is applied to saltwater to force it through a special membrane. Only pure water passes, leaving concentrated seawater behind. Where multistage flash distillation costs about $4 per 1,000 gallons, reverse osmosis costs about half that amount. This process is used by a plant in the Tampa Bay area, Florida, that produces 25 million gallons of drinking water a day. Another type uses an empty hollow sphere of semipermeable material that is lowered into the sea. The water flowing into the sphere is fresh, since the salt is excluded by the membrane that covers the entire sphere and is its guard.

One final approach is under development in Hawaii, where different layers of seawater display a large temperature differential. Here an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion plant is being built which will use steam produced by the flash method to produce energy, then condense the steam into freshwater. Three such plants could produce a hundred megawatts of power, as well as supply 30% of Hawaii's water needs.

For emergency use, i.e., in lifeboats, various systems are available in addition to solar or fuel-heated distillation devices. One device made of flexible plastic is worn around the waist of the user to employ body heat for evaporation.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The Minister added that the conference ARWADEX 8 is aimed at research for all available technologies for desalination of water in all Arab countries and exchange of acquired expertise from experiments done in these countries as well as in re- gional and international organizations from the point of view of operational, eco- nomic and environmental concerns in the field of water desalination.
It recommended taking water from the Shannon at Lough Ree and desalination of water from the Irish Sea if the needs of the greater Dublin area are to be met in the long-term.
Secretary of State for Scientific Research, Khalil Laamiri, said the Arab countries are now facing several major challenges, including achieving food, energy and water security, which can be met only through Arab cooperation and the development of the peaceful uses of atomic energy, especially in the areas of desalination of water (drinking water or irrigation water) and in the field of health.
Desalination of water produces its own carbon footprint.
"After analysing waste water management in this region, we have come to the conclusion that electrodialysis is the ideal solution for desalination of water with recovery up to 95 per cent," he noted.
While aiming to become a model centre for disseminating awareness on the necessity of conserving electricity and water, the park also demonstrates the complete processes of electricity generation and desalination of water from the sea, it said.
Hisham Yamani, chairman of the King Abdullah City for Nuclear and Renewable Energy and the French minister in charge of industry and energy, Eric Besson will sign the agreement, which lays down the basis for extensive cooperation in the application of nuclear energy, specifically in the production of electricity, desalination of water, qualifying human resources in the peaceful use of atomic energy and the promotion of nuclear energy applications in the sectors of agriculture, biology, archaeology, medicine and industry.