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Desalination - Breaking Down the Myth of Feasibility

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posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:50 PM
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It looks like the world is rapidly turning to desalination. And the cost of desalination is projected to be only twice the cost of new reservoirs, which aren't feasible where there is not enough water to begin with.

At only double the cost of traditional sources desalination seems like a win for humanity no matter how you spin it.



Desalination by the Numbers

17,000+ The total number of desalination plants worldwide (as of 2013)

More than 80 million cubic meters per day - The global capacity of commissioned desalination plants (as of 2013)

21.1 billion US gallons - The equivalent of 66.5 million cubic meters per day

150 - The number of countries where desalination is practiced

More than 300 million - The number of people around the world who rely on desalinated water for some or all their daily needs
idadesal.org...



The crews are building what boosters say represents California's best hope for a drought-proof water supply: the largest ocean desalination plant in the Western Hemisphere. The $1 billion project will provide 50 million gallons of drinking water a day for San Diego County when it opens in 2016.

Desalinated water typically costs about $2,000 an acre foot -- roughly the amount of water a family of five uses in a year. The cost is about double that of water obtained from building a new reservoir or recycling wastewater, according to a 2013 study from the state Department of Water Resources.

The company will be guaranteed a rate of return between 9 and 13 percent, depending on operating costs.

Nobody disputes that the cost of water will go up. According to Yamada, the average customer's bill, now $71 a month, will rise $5 to $7 to pay for desalination.
www.mercurynews.com...


The two concerns are environmental and electricity.



And to remove the salt, the plant will use an enormous amount of energy about 38 megawatts, enough to power 28,500 homes -- to force 100 million gallons of seawater a day through a series of filters.


The answer for electricity

It's time to start putting up solar. Before you say solar isn't feasible I suggest you check out this thread out and what Elon Musk has to say about solar feasibility.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

As for the environment

No matter where we get our water we will have an environmental impact, the reality is the water has to come from somewhere. Taking water from the oceans will have a negative impact on coastal regions, but refraining from stripping our lakes, reservoirs, rivers and streams will have a positive impact in fresh water environments. I see this as a necessary trade off environmentally.

One of the things I realized putting this together is that while desalination is part of the solution we use a lot more water then I previously imagined. Water desalination alone may not be enough. We have much work to do on reclamation of waste water as well.

Reclaiming water is still less expensive then desalination, but reclamation alone will not solve the problems in most dry or drought stuck areas. www.sacbee.com...

A few additional threads relating to the water issues.

NLBS #52: Stupid in California, or, How Excess and Environmentalists Caused The Drought.
www.abovetopsecret.com...

More Than 400 U.S. Cities May Be 'Past The Point Of No Return' With Sea Level Threats
www.abovetopsecret.com...

Making Salt Water Drinkable Just Got 99 Percent Cheaper
www.abovetopsecret.com...
According to this 2015 article graphene desalination referenced in the above 2013 ATS thread is still in developmental stage.
cleantechnica.com...

A note on the potentially rising oceans. Maybe it's time to determine if desalination is a feasible way to control the rise of oceans due to glacial melt if that does indeed become an issue. How many gallons do we have to pull out to offset the expected rise? And can it be done before we loose our coastline?


edit on 15-10-2015 by Isurrender73 because: (no reason given)




posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:57 PM
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a reply to: Isurrender73

Giant 2 story high Pipeline from Gulf and Pacific Along the Mexico border to carry saltwater to the Desert Southwest, Desalinate using solar distillation and route to cities.


You get a border wall and pipeline all in one.



posted on Oct, 14 2015 @ 11:59 PM
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a reply to: Isurrender73

Good thread, though I'd like to note that whatever water we take from the oceans ultimately will mostly find it's way back. If it goes down the drain, it down streams back into the oceans.

Reclaiming grey water and desalination is a win as far as I'm concerned.

S + F



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:00 AM
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a reply to: Isurrender73


The two concerns are environmental and electricity.

Yah, its costly.

If we cut back on industrial agro and industrial use of water we'd have all we need. Calirfornia has always been dry, but now that they are using all the water before it gets to the reservoirs and drilling the aquifers, bottling and selling water out of state, growing water intensive crops, fracking, refining oil, etc, etc.

People should arrange to have stills of some kind to distill their own water down the road. You will be more able to afford that than the cost of desalinization.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:05 AM
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If people want to live in the desert they are going to have to pay more for water. That sounds about right to me.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:09 AM
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originally posted by: Metallicus
If people want to live in the desert they are going to have to pay more for water. That sounds about right to me.


I don't think many people realize that most of Southern California was historically a desert. With the concrete jungle built up, the mild weather and the ocean nearby it can be easy to forget this.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:15 AM
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a reply to: Isurrender73

The funny thing is that we have enough room in this country that no one HAS to live in a drought area. People make their choices then whine when they get what they chose.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 01:07 AM
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a reply to: Isurrender73

I've advocated the use of salt water for solar thermal power generation. You get 3 very beneficial products .

You get Steam, used to turn turbine to generate electricity.
Funnel that steam into a condenser after it has spun the turbine and you get desalinated water.
The leftover salt can be used for heat storage for electricity generating on cloudy/stormy days.

Not sure why it isnt being done but it isnt.

My bad, it is now, but not to the extent it needs to be done: reneweconomy.com.au...
edit on 15-10-2015 by LightAssassin because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 01:30 AM
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It purely comes down to cost.

Rain falls from the sky for free.

Desalination, whatever form it takes has to be built.

What the world needs is less people. Drought is a natural cycle and without us, nature would take care if itself.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 01:34 AM
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a reply to: LightAssassin

Interesting idea.

How big would the solar thermal generator have to be to generate the heat equivalent of 38 Megawatts of electricity? That's the amount of power mentioned in the OP which is necessary to distill the amount of water they predict.

I never thought about using the distillation salt residue for heat storage. But at some point the amount of salt storage available will be exceeded. I assume the idea is to use molten salt to store the heat. But that's essentially a closed system, once the heat is extracted from the salt, the salt goes back to the solar power tower. You can only continue to add salt until the reservoir is full. Then it needs to be dumped somewhere.

Just a few details to work out, but overall it's clever approach.


-dex



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 01:35 AM
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posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 02:35 AM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

You sell the salt to Morton, and other places..

That way you get table top sea salt to sprinkle on your food, and used in other places, and purposes.

win win.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 03:28 AM
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In threads like this everyone thinks short term quick answer. Nature has a way of spreading fresh water around the planet. This will increase as natural warming of the planet happens. With our help we can speed up this process.
The alternative view about global warming is the fact that in 250yrs plus we could have deserts that have regular rainfall. Ancient rivers will again flow. Weather patterns will change and arable lands formed. There will be a lot of land lost but a better earth is on the way.
We can already see the ice sheet moving back to its original place, ( 3 miles high). The increase in ice particles in the upper atmosphere are responsible for the increase in sundog phenomenon.
The garden of Eden will return and with no food or energy shortages there will be no competing for resources because they are in abundance,
Hope your gene survives for it as we are the ones putting in the foundations of the new world. Nature is on our side.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 04:01 AM
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a reply to: Cygnis



That way you get table top sea salt to sprinkle on your food, and used in other places, and purposes.


Based on some back of the envelope calculations it looks like the plant would generate about 2.5 million metric tons of salt per year, based on 50 million gallons of water per day delivered. According to USGS, that's only about 5% of current US production. Not nearly as much as we have been lead to believe.

The salt residue can remain in a dense brine which is used for industrial feed stocks. So, there wouldn't be any additional processing that would have to be done. So basically selling the waste products of desalination would help to defray the capital costs of the facility construction.

win win win


-dex



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 06:31 AM
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originally posted by: markosity1973

....

What the world needs is less people. Drought is a natural cycle and without us, nature would take care if itself.



That is golden; nothing another holocaust or a good ol' thermo-nuclear war wouldn't fix, right? Or, better yet, massive Humanitarin Extermination Centers (HEC) set up around the globe. ...

"All persons with an odd number on their national ID card are directed to please report to your nearest HEC within 48 hours. All other persons (i.e. those with an even number) are directed to report to your nearest Humanitarian Sterilization Center (HSC) for processing. Complimentary salty snacks will be provided...courtesy of the Department of Earth Preservation (DEP) (a department of the New World Order)"


edit on 10/15/2015 by Flyingclaydisk because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 07:21 AM
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originally posted by: Metallicus
a reply to: Isurrender73

The funny thing is that we have enough room in this country that no one HAS to live in a drought area. People make their choices then whine when they get what they chose.


The movie industry in Southern California chose that area because of the dry weather. The urban sprawlification of California was caused by the oil companies buying out the railroads and tramlines and closing them down - the future was going to be mass transit by freeway. Except things got a bit out of hand as everyone wanted to live on the edge of the city with a view of the natural countryside, and car salerooms liked to be built where they could be seen for miles.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 09:06 AM
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a reply to: DexterRiley

en.wikipedia.org...

3,500 acres (1,420 hectares) = 377MW net, 392 MW gross, annual power generation of 1000 GW/h....not sure if those stated facts are true and correct.

Also have no idea of water input/usage to determine what the usage and output of water and salt would be if switched to salt water.

Yes, I like the idea, it seems like common sense. Being an Aussie living on the coast, surrounded by salt water and vast deserts a mere stone throw away, seeing our government building a reverse-osmosis desalination plant, it seems a solar thermal plant using salt water would kill, at least, 3 birds with 1 stone. Desalination, Power generation and Carbon emission reduction.

Actual birds would be killed too occasionally when they fly through the solar flux......but ya know....small price to pay.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 09:51 AM
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As long as there is water involved try and incorporate hydropower and cut the power costs that way?



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 10:40 AM
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The easiest way to desalinate water is to distill/boil it. I never understood why it was considered to be difficult.



posted on Oct, 15 2015 @ 12:09 PM
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a reply to: LightAssassin


Actual birds would be killed too occasionally when they fly through the solar flux......but ya know....small price to pay.


Ivanpah Solar Power Facility Bird Deaths

During the trial of the plant in September 2013, 34 dead birds were found at the plant, 15 of which had heavily burned feathers, which staff at the plant referred to as "streamers" because they were burned in flight by the intense radiation from the heliostat mirrors. From February through June 2014, a team of biologists monitoring the number of bird deaths reported a total of 290.
290 bird deaths per year is not too bad. I'm sure Californians run-over more than that in a month with their cars.



it seems a solar thermal plant using salt water would kill, at least, 3 birds with 1 stone. Desalination, Power generation and Carbon emission reduction.
Yep. I like your idea. But, I'm sure it makes too much sense. I don't know how things are down under, but special interests lobbyist in the US would never go for an idea like this that didn't make them a bunch of money.

-dex




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