Solar Water Desalination Plants: Introduction
- A solar water desalination plant produces potable water from saline water through direct or indirect methods of desalination powered by sunlight
- The design of a direct (or a passive) plant unit, generically called a solar still, can be quite simple
- Solar water desalination plants are powered solely by solar energy. Hence, weather conditions and variable solar intensity led by shifting position of the sun throughout the day can negatively impact the efficiency of these plants.
- The heat that drives the desalination process can also be provided by large arrays of sunlight-concentrating mirrors. However, it is expensive to manufacture and install those mirrors.
- Factors such as technical simplicity, low maintenance requirements, and ease of operation are highly important for successful installation of distributed solar powered desalination plant systems.
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Key Drivers of Global Solar Water Desalination Plant Market
- Solar light can be considered a new energy source for desalination of water, primarily in offshore applications. Rising concerns related to climate change, carbon emissions, rapid growth of human population, and contamination of water resources lead to requirement for more amount of fresh water for both commercial and domestic usage.
- Growing environment-related concerns and rising usage of clean energy substitutes are estimated to be key factors driving the global solar water desalination plant market during the forecast period
- Government policies and initiatives favoring the installation of solar water desalination plant units are projected to provide immense opportunities to the global solar water desalination plant market during the forecast period
Restraints of Global Solar Water Desalination Plant Market
- A large amount of concentrated brine is discharged from saline water desalination plants. This brine is not only salt concentrated, but it also contains chemicals such as anti-scaling agents from pre- and post-treatment. This results in high salt concentration in the area near the brine discharge point. Thus, brine disposal is an issue that challenges all desalination technologies.
- Efficiency of solar water desalination plant systems is purely governed by preferably high rates of heat and mass transfer during evaporation and condensation. Thus, surfaces need to be properly designed within planned objectives in terms of heat transfer efficiency, economy, and reliability.
- Also, Condensation heat is valuable, as a large amount of solar energy is required to evaporate water and generate saturated, vapor-laden hot air. This amount of solar energy gets transferred to the condenser’s surface during condensation. However, in most forms of solar stills, this heat of condensation is expelled from the system as waste heat.
- Solar-powered desalination plant installation is highly energy intensive and costly, which makes it economically unfeasible for large- and small-scale installations
- In October 2019, REvivED Water consortium and Trunz, in their pilot plant, conducted tests by using the combination of electro dialysis (ED), reverse electro dialysis (RED), and reverse osmosis (RO) for improving the efficiency of solar seawater desalination
- In July 2019, researchers from Rice University in the U.S. used ‘inexpensive plastic lenses’ to concentrate sunlight and create ‘hot spots’ on solar-powered desalination systems
- In April 2019, Niti Aayog announced that India’s first solar-powered desalination plant would be set up in the state of Tamil Nadu, India. Under this project, India has planned to build desalination plants along the 7800-kilometer coastline of Tamil Nadu.
- In November 2018, a symbolic foundation stone for the 5,200-m3/d desalination facility, which would located on the Red Sea coast at Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, was laid by King Salman during his visit to King Abdul-Aziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Under this project, Saudi Arabia has planned to build a solar-powered desalination plant by using the adsorption technology.
Middle East & Africa to Hold a Major Share of Global Solar Water Desalination Plant Market
- Based on region, the global solar water desalination plant market can be classified into North America, Asia Pacific, Europe, Latin America, and Middle East & Africa
- Middle East & Africa is likely to dominate the global market during the forecast period. High investments, especially in North Africa, as well as technological advancements are driving the market in the region.
- Moreover, favorable government initiatives in GCC and Africa have prompted leading global players to invest in these sub-regions
- The market in the Middle East is likely to witness significant growth between 2019 and 2027, as more number of oil- and gas-based economies have turned toward the desalination sector
- Leading players in Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia are also interested in using solar power as an alternative to carry out reverse-osmosis desalination, which uses electricity to pump saline water through membrane filters
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Key Players Operating in Global Market
Some of the key players operating in the global solar water desalination plant market are:
- Photon Energy Systems Limited
- Solar Water Solutions Ltd
- Sterlitech Corporation
- Sinovoltaics Group
- Trunz Water Systems AG
- Elemental Water Makers B.V.
- F CUBED LIMITED
- Photon Energy Systems Ltd.
- Waaree Energies Ltd.
- Water Office
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