Emerging desalination technologies for water treatment: A critical review

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In this paper, a review of emerging desalination technologies is presented. Several technologies for desalination of municipal and industrial wastewater have been proposed and evaluated, but only certain technologies have been commercialized or are close to commercialization. This review consists of membrane-based, thermal-based and alternative technologies. Membranes based on incorporation of nanoparticles, carbon nanotubes or graphene-based ones show promise as innovative desalination technologies with superior performance in terms of water permeability and salt rejection. However, only nanocomposite membranes have been commercialized while others are still under fundamental developmental stages. Among the thermal-based technologies, membrane
distillation and adsorption desalination show the most promise for enhanced performance with the availability of a waste heat source. Several alternative technologies have also been developed recently; those based on capacitive deionization have shown considerable improvements in their salt removal capacity and feed water recovery. In the same category, microbial desalination cells have been shown to desalinate high salinity water without any external energy source, but to date, scale up of the process has not been methodically evaluated. In this paper, advantages and drawbacks of each technology is discussed along with a comparison of performance, water quality and energy consumption.


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