Solar desalination water technology can alleviate water shortage
Solar water desalination is a technique used to remove salt from water. Through specially designed distillation equipment, this technology can use solar energy to heat seawater to make it boil, and re-cool the steam to condense to get pure water. Salt and other impurities are left in the distiller.
Currently, less than one percent of all water desalination plants in the world use renewable energy. But in Los Angeles's WaterFx company, it may not be long before this status quo may completely change. The company's Aqua4 "Concentrating Solar Distiller" (CSS) uses a concentrating solar collector to collect heat, generate steam, and extract distilled water, which is 30 times more efficient than natural evaporation. It can produce 65,000 gallons of purified water per day and it can dilute many different sources of water in addition to seawater.
From next year, WaterFx will use solar water desalination technology to process 1.6 billion gallons of high-salinity irrigation drainage from the Central Valley, California's agricultural major town that is experiencing drought. Crops absorb nearly pure water from the soil, leaving large amounts of salt and potentially toxic minerals, such as selenium, a naturally occurring substance in water. These extra minerals must be discharged from the soil, otherwise it will affect the crop yield. By dealing with these effluents, WaterFx can save California's large amount of arable land from having to withdraw from it for the sake of storing these effluents. This will also prevent irrigation drainage from polluting clean waterways or threatening wildlife. According to the California Water Resources Administration, approximately 9,493 miles of rivers and streams and 513,130 acres of lakes and reservoirs have been contaminated by agricultural irrigation drainage.
â€œIf we do not begin to remove salt now, in the future, at least 10% of the cultivated land in use in California will have to be 'retired' from then on, and in some cases this figure may reach 30% or even 40%, especially in On the west side of the canyon where salinity is high, â€œWater St. Matthew Stuber said:â€ Irrigation water will accelerate the pollution of groundwater and natural surface water, and eventually contaminate drinking water sources and the natural environment. Once sewage is discharged In the environment, it will cause serious damage to the natural ecology and wildlife."
Another large-scale solar desalination project is currently under construction in Saudi Arabia and is scheduled to be completed in early 2017. The entire plant plans to provide 60,000 cubic meters of fresh water daily for the city of Al Khafji in northeastern Saudi Arabia to ensure a steady supply of water throughout the dry season. According to Abengoa, a renewable energy company from Spain built this groundbreaking facility, and the use of solar energy can significantly reduce operating costs. At present, 50% to 70% of drinking water in Saudi Arabia is desalinated, and the desalination unit burns 1.5 million barrels of oil each day. Total desalinated water demand in Saudi Arabia and neighboring countries is expected to reach 110 million cubic meters per day by 2030.
Due to climate change and other reasons, freshwater has become extremely valuable in many countries around the world, so it is currently the best time for solar water desalination technology to mature. Whether this emerging technology will soon become mainstream may determine whether the world of the future will remain peaceful, or whether it will struggle to fight for the increasingly scarce supply of fresh water.
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