Renewable Energy-Driven Desalination: New Trends And Future Prospects Of Small Capacity Systems

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New trends and future prospects for small capacity systems of Renewable Energy-driven Desalination (REDES) are reviewed and assessed in this paper over a nominal desalination capacity range of 3–1000 m3/d. A thorough literature review is reported in order to evaluate current research and developing activities. Outstanding commercial prospects in the near future are identified for two off-grid REDES technologies under development. First, wave energy converters with direct coupling to seawater desalination. Second, solar micro gas turbines with biofuel backup coupled to reverse osmosis (RO) desalination and/or zero liquid discharge water treatment. These systems, as well as mature REDES plants (namely PV/RO and wind turbines/RO), will benefit from forthcoming advances in energy efficiency in the RO process itself. The Closed Circuit RO desalination (CCROTM) concept may be a key configuration for enhancing RE-driven RO desalination. Additionally, opportunities for innovation in seawater RO desalination with variable power consumption are highlighted. On the other hand, our conclusions highlight opportunities for developing novel portable REDES systems based on solar membrane distillation with a portable linear Fresnel concentrator manufactured by SOLATOM. Additionally, the concept of portable systems could foster the commercial development of microbial desalination cells combined with solar PV energy and RO powered by tidal currents.


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