One of the key challenges in our brave new world is creating a sustainable water supply for the ever growing global population – a population that has surpassed 7 billion and keeps expanding.
Experts recognize this issue must be met head on, paying particular attention to comprehensive water management and responsible water usage. Diminishing resources mean new water sources must be continually located in order to meet the demands and effects of urbanization, population growth, and climate change.
The Western Australian Geothermal Centre of Excellence, supported by the National Centre of Excellence in Desalination, has developed a novel desalination technology using waste heat and renewable energy sources. The technology has increased productivity significantly. Researchers observed an increase of 25 to 35% increase over conventional systems. Another benefit – the system delivers an economical freshwater supply with a significantly lower environmental impact.
Desalination may be one of the foremost technologies to make sources of saline water accessible. Many desalinization plants were in existence by 2011, with more than 16,000 handling a total capacity of 77.4 million m3 per day. This equates to a production of over 10 liters per human capita per day.
While impressive, this is a fairly small amount when compared to overall water consumption. Experts recognize there is vast potential with the desalination technologies, but it has a long way to go to compete with traditional better known technologies.