Renewable energy-driven desalination technologies: A comprehensive review on challenges and potential applications of integrated systems
KAUST DepartmentWater Desalination and Reuse Research Center (WDRC)
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AbstractDespite the tremendous improvements in conventional desalination technologies, its wide use is still limited due primarily to high energy requirements which are currently met with expensive fossil fuels. The use of alternative energy sources is essential to meet the growing demand for water desalination. In the last few decades a lot of effort has being directed in the use of different renewable energy (RE) sources to run desalination processes. However, the expansion of these efforts towards larger scale plants is hampered by several techno-economic challenges. Several medium-scale RE-driven desalination plants have been installed worldwide. Nevertheless, most of these plants are connected to the electrical grid to assure a continuous energy supply for stable operation. Furthermore, RE is mostly used to produce electric power which can be used to run desalination systems. This review paper focuses on an integrated approach in using RE-driven with an emphasis on solar and geothermal desalination technologies. Innovative and sustainable desalination processes which are suitable for integrated RE systems are presented. An assessment of the benefits of these technologies and their limitations are also discussed.