chapter  18
24 Pages

The economics of desalination for various uses

ByXavier Bernat, Oriol Gibert, Roger Guiu, Joana Tobella & Carlos Campos

ABSTRACT: Water scarcity is a major problem that needs to be efficiently solved to ensure water availability for future generations. Desalination is an alternative technology for water production based on salt separation from water. Reverse osmosis (RO) and multi stage flash (MSF) are by far the most prevalent desalination processes. Desalination operating costs depend on several factors such as pre-/post-treatment requirements, selected technology, feed water quality, plant location, energy availability and brines disposal. These costs are usually lower for RO than MSF, moreover, MSF has been stated to be at its technological limit whilst RO can be developed and improved in the future. Despite its higher cost compared to conventional water sources, desalination can play an important role when developing a full-cost assessment of the integrated water cycle as it avoids some of the resource costs incurred when demand cannot be met. The aim of this study is to give a general overview on available desalination technologies and market, desalination for water reuse applications, desalination costs (capital, operation, resource and environmental) and economic instruments available to integrate desalination into water cycle economics.