How green solar desalination really is? Environmental assessment using life-cycle analysis (LCA) approach

Kenan Jijakli, Hassan Arafat, Scott Kennedy, Prasad Mande, Vijo Varkey Theeyattuparampil

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we compare three desalination based alternatives for water supply in off-grid areas, and assess their environmental footprint. The three options are: (a) a solar still, (b) a photo-voltaic (PV) powered reverse osmosis (RO) unit, and (c) water delivery by truck from a central RO plant. By use of life-cycle analysis (LCA), a comprehensive environmental modeling of the three systems is carried out. The basic systems, components and processes are modeled, and then varied, in order to offer a deeper insight into the robustness of the model.Our findings indicate that energy generation and materials usage are critical parameters when the considered alternative options are compared. Of the three options, PV-RO is found to have the least environmental impact. The usefulness of this study is that it provides policy-makers insights into renewable energy desalination for clean water production and, thus, it promotes the deployment of low-carbon desalination technologies.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalDesalination
Volume287
DOIs
StatePublished - 15 Nov 2012

Keywords

  • Life-cycle analysis
  • Reverse-osmosis
  • Solar desalination
  • Solar still
  • United Arab Emirates

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