As the effects of global warming become more prevalent, small island nations around the world are on the frontline of not only rising seas, but an even more immediate threat of drought brought on by climate change. Even during the most severe drought, these small landmasses are surrounded by an endless supply of saltwater that can be converted into potable water. Desalination by reverse osmosis, an increasingly popular technology around the globe, is notoriously expensive, energy intensive, and emits large amounts of pollution depending on the energy source utilized.
This research project inspects the feasibility and capabilities of a small-scale sustainable reverse osmosis desalination plant powered by waste heat from wastewater treatment and various forms of renewable energy. While various energy sources have been utilized and are being developed to power desalination, this project suggests an integrated approach, combining multiple sources of energy to meet the high energy demands of desalination. Depending on the geography of the region in question, wind, solar, tidal, and geothermal energy can be harnessed in any combination as well as the waste heat produced by wastewater treatment. Integrating these facilities and energy sources will maximize efficiency, cut costs, and ultimately provide a sustainable source of freshwater for those in need.
Harper, Brandon, "Sustainable Desalination - A Multipurpose Facility Developed to Alleviate Water Crises Suffered by Small Island Nations Due to Global Climate Change" (2014). College of Engineering Presentations. 20.