Loughborough University
WEDCThesis-2015-2016-MIZUTANI.pdf (2.5 MB)

Sustainable options for desalination: A look into renewable energies and brine disposal

Download (2.5 MB)
posted on 2020-10-09, 13:20 authored by Douglas Mizutani
In today’s present world, billions of people live without reliable access to clean drinking water, and as populations continue to grow, freshwater sources begin to disappear at an equally rapid pace. In an effort to combat these issues, desalination has been introduced as a solution to abstract water from untouched resources. However, while desalination can produce additional potable water, it is also heavily criticised for its flaws; namely cost, energy consumption, and environmental pollution. Thus, in order to promote desalination as a sustainable solution for both the present day and future, improvements need to be implemented to produce less costly, more energy efficient, and environmentally friendly desalination plants. This paper reviews all of the current desalination methods in today’s global market, evaluating which methods are most sustainable for the future of desalination. Options for renewable energies to replace fossil fuels are also studied, as well as various brine disposal methods which can produce more environmentally safe and sustainable desalination facilities. Among the literature reviewed, reverse osmosis was found to be the world’s most sustainable method of desalination due to its energy efficiency and production capacity, while solar photovoltaics were found to be the popular choice among renewable energies. Zero liquid discharge was also found to be the most environmentally friendly method of brine waste disposal, although research in the field was very limited. Each method was closely evaluated and compared among its competitors, offering a detailed perspective on the sustainable state of desalination.



  • Architecture, Building and Civil Engineering

Research Unit

  • Water, Engineering and Development Centre (WEDC)