Desalination At A Glance

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By desalination, we will be referring to the production of a useful product water from a feed
water that is too high in inorganic materials (salts) to be useful. The feed water may be
seawater, brackish water, or other “impaired” water that cannot be used directly for potable
or general industrial purposes. Notice that this definition includes the treatment of certain
wastewaters for subsequent reuse.
The principal technologies used in desalination are based on concepts that are fairly easy to
grasp by those with a modest amount of scientific training and/or technical experience. In
practice, however, choices of technology and plant design are usually determined by factors
that might appear minor to the inexperienced. Similarly, new technologies that show great
promise in the laboratory frequently fail for reasons that were earlier overlooked or dismissed
as trivial. Indeed, professional fascination with specific technical elegance has, in some
cases, led researchers to remain oblivious to inherent limitations of a process. Nonetheless,
attention to detail over the past five decades has resulted in dramatic reductions in capital
and operating costs as well as greatly increased plant reliability and performance


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