Sustainable water desalination from the solar energy
Document typeConference report
PublisherUPC. Departament d'Enginyeria de Projectes i de la Construcció
Rights accessOpen Access
Seawater desalination is the main source of water in areas where it is scarce. Reverse osmosis is among the technologies used for that purpose. It implies high energy consumption costs and, accordingly, a significant carbon footprint, as well as the depletion of limited natural resources and pollution from brine generated. AQUA.abib has developed a technology that provides fresh water as well as salt, two products from the same process, derived from seawater with few requirements from conventional energy. The thermal energy required is provided by the Sun. A pyramidal shaped energy collector is comprised of two layers: a transparent outer film and a black inner surface which heats the air between the two. It concentrates heated air at its apex where seawater is sprayed, to fully separate water from salt. The salt is collected and processed for marketing and steam-laden air is driven through a column down to an underground gallery to fully condense and collect distilled water. Latent condensation heat is recovered. No brine is produced, so no pollution is associated with the process. Economic returns come from fresh water, salt, and a multifunctional inner area enclosed in the pyramid. The structure provides a climatic conditioned space suitable for: green housing, animal farming, work and leisure activities, housing or storage. In geographical areas (or during seasons) in which water is scarce, the Sun is an excellent energy source due to its high level of irradiation. Hence, the supply of fresh water fits the demand like a key fits its lock. This technology has been tested and evaluated in different scenarios and has received a grant from the EASME programme of the European Commission. The construction of the first commercial size prototype plant is foreseen to take place at Ciutadella (Menorca, Spain) by Spring, 2018.
CitationBosch Bosch, À.; Moncho Esteve, I.; López Fornieles, E. Sustainable water desalination from the solar energy. A: "I International Congress on Water and Sustainability". UPC. Departament d'Enginyeria de Projectes i de la Construcció, 2017.