Hopefully, the UAE’s new solar energy desalination process will help create more green water.
Abu Dhabi’s Environment Agency is testing a new solar energy desalination system that is much more environmentally friendly, as well as less costly, according to the English language Dubai News. The process is said to be a “zero-carbon process which helps reduce cost of water treatment, especially in desert areas where dust and high temperatures impair the efficiency of solar panels used in the existing desalination system.”
Desalination is now the major provider of fresh water in the UAE, and is still so costly that Abu Dhabi and other UAE locations are seriously looking into waste water recycling and treatment as a means to reduce the reliance on desalination to provide their fresh water needs.
A traditional desalination plant in Saudi Arabia.
If this new process will make desalination by solar energy more efficient, then other countries in the region, including Saudi Arabia, which is already investing in solar energy will use it as a way to provide power for its desalination plants.
These experimental solar-powered desalination facilities in Hameem and Sweihan are pilot sites to demonstrate how to reduce the negative impact of water desalination on the environment as well as help to reduce the cost of water production, according to a press release.
Each unit generates an average of 35 kilowatts per hour, making a total of 1050 kilo-watt/hour.
Even if this new “carbon zero” process is found to be efficient, the idea of using seawater for the production of fresh water supplies is not a long term “best idea” as there is still the issue of the heavily saline sea water residue being returned to the sea, making the seas more saline, and thus having an adverse affect on marine life.
The Arabian (Persian) Gulf is already becoming more saline; and neighboring countries like Kuwait are already becoming concerned that increasing use of desalination will cause sea water to be more saline.
At the present time, and due to many parts of the world having less rainfall due to the effects of climate change, reliance of desalination to provide enough fresh water is something that many countries in the Middle East and Eastern Mediterranean region will have to rely on. This is an unfortunate reality in countries like Cyprus, where desalination is a major supplier of fresh water in the southern part of the island and the northern part is planning to build a pipeline to Turkey to receive fresh water.
More information on this new process will be welcome by all countries using solar energy for desalination plants. Presently, however, most of the world’s desalination plants still rely on fossil fuels to provide the power needed for desalination.
Read more on Middle East regional desalination issues: