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How Sustainable is Desalination?
My recent book titled Desalination Sustainability: A Technical, Socioeconomic and Environmental Approach contains a collection of eleven carefully selected chapters written by prolific subject matter experts. It aims to shed light on the sustainability of desalination, as a choice for water supply in our world today.
While the “desalinators” club has, as long-standing members, countries which enjoy an abundance of fossil fuel resources, many not-so-energy-rich countries are increasingly resorting to desalination to bridge the growing gap in their domestic water supply. With levelized water cost running roughly at USD $0.6-1.2/m3 using the state of the art RO technology – depending on many local variables – and the mounting evidence on the negative effects desalination has on our environment, a recurring –and legitimate– question on the minds of many decision makers is: “how sustainable is desalination?”.
Access chapter one, Introduction: What is Sustainable Desalination?, which provides an introduction is made to high-level sustainability appraisal of desalination from an ecological, economic, and social points of view drawing on the classical definition of sustainability. You can also browse the rest of the book on ScienceDirect.
Without a doubt, technical advances have come a long way in supporting desalination as a process and the sustainability thereof. Novel membranes, renewables-powered desalination systems, remote sensing of algal blooms, energy recovery devices, third-generation desalination technologies (MD, FO, …) and brine management schemes, are all but examples of such advances. What is still needed is a framework for looking at these advances (and others to come) in the context of supporting a holistic sustainability assessment of the desalination process. This is important given the inter-dependencies and trade-offs among these various advances. This book is a humble start towards developing such context and framework. This is, to the best of my knowledge, the first book dedicated to desalination sustainability.
- Presents the issues related to desalination sustainability
- Guides researchers and technology developers on how to quantify the energy efficiency of a proposed desalination process using thermodynamics-based tools
- Outlines a clear and practical methodology on how to probe the economic feasibility of desalination using simple and effective tools
- Provides a roadmap for decision-makers on the applicability of a desalination process at a particular setting
About the Editor:
Prof. Hassan Arafat received his Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati (Ohio, USA) and worked as a researcher and project manager at Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) (Illinois, USA) until 2003. His research at ANL was focused on process development for nuclear waste treatment at DOE sites. Between 2003 and 2010, Dr. Arafat served as a faculty member at the Chemical Engineering Department at An-Najah University (Palestine). In 2010, he joined Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) as a visiting scholar for six months, after which he moved to Abu Dhabi (UAE) where he now works at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.
He is a recipient of several prestigious international awards and international research fellowships, including the USA Department of Energy (DOE) Secretarial Honor Award and the Mondialogo Engineering Award, awarded jointly by Daimler AG and UNESCO. He is also the recipient of 16 grants totaling USD $10M. He is an author of 70+ book chapters and peer-reviewed journal papers and 80+ conference papers. The focus of Dr. Arafat’s research interests is on sustainable and autonomous desalination processes, the development of novel membranes for desalination and the development of sustainable solid waste management strategies. Dr. Arafat serves on the editorial board of many international peer- reviewed journals
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