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Solar Desalination: Combining the Powers of the Seas and the Sun

‘Solar Desalination is the Key to Unlock the Power of the Seas and the Sun Combined.’ 

Our earth’s surface is covered with 71% water, only 3% of the world’s water is drinkable water and the rest is sea-water or non-useable water. In fact, drinkable water is increasingly becoming scarce. Droughts are happening frequently and our water sources are either drying up or getting polluted.

However, as mentioned above, we have enough water but it is not fit for drinking purposes. The seawater needs desalination to make it drinkable. This process of making seawater fit for drinking is known as desalination. It requires a high amount of energy and since the energy rates are high, it is an expensive process. But, if solar energy is used to carry out this process, it becomes inexpensive.

Imagine using free and smart energy from the sun to turn seawater into clean drinking water. The grave problem of scarce drinking water could be resolved within a blink of eyes. Also, as the whole process requires a lot of energy, solar energy provides a smart and cost-effective solution. It is needless to say, solar desalination holds the key to unlock the power of the seas and the sun combine together. 

The solar humidification-dehumidification (HDH) process similar to that of the natural evaporation water cycle of evaporating and condensing water for the separation of salt and other substances. Thermal solar energy acts as a driving force in HDM, which initially produces water vapour and later condenses in a separate chamber. In certain HDH systems, the condensation induced heat is collected and the incoming water source is pre-heated in order to minimize heat wastage.

Process of Solar Desalination

Pre-filtration: In the first process, seawater is directed into a big filter-container through an open intake. These container units filter out the larger particles present in the water.
Desalination: After pre-filtration water is desalination using reverse osmosis. A special filtration membrane is used for this process.
Remineralisation: After desalination, the desalinated water is added with few minerals and made fit to drink.
Storage: The mineralised water is then stored in large reservoirs and transported as per needs.


Another way of desalinating the seawater is humidification-dehumidification. The process is similar to that of the natural evaporation water cycle of evaporating and condensing water for the separation of salt and other substances. Thermal solar energy acts as a driving force in HDM, which initially produces water vapour and later condenses in a separate chamber. In certain HDH systems, the condensation induced heat is collected and the incoming water source is pre-heated in order to minimize heat wastage. All the energy that is needed for the process involved in HDH is provided by solar.

The process of desalination requires a high amount of energy and since the energy rates are high, it is an expensive process. Using solar energy to carry out this process, makes is less expensive.

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