Nearly 71% of the earth is covered with water. But, the catch here is that this 71% is seawater held in oceans and seas. According to data collected by the WHO (World Health Organisation), over 1 billion people do not have access to freshwater. The report also states by 2050 (in less than 30 years), that number could increase to a staggering four billion people (four in seven people in the world).
With perennial rivers drying up and pollution affecting groundwater tables, the only feasible way to provide water to all people on the planet is through seawater desalination. Nearly 60% of the world's population lives within 60 kilometers of the sea coast. In these regions, it makes the most sense to convert seawater into potable water instead of further drying up expensive and precious inland water resources.
With the world population nearing 7.5 billion people, seawater desalination is ideal for meeting the growing domestic and industrial water needs. Contrary to popular belief, seawater desalination is not modern technology. It has been around for 1000s of years. In recent years, ships, yachts, and other sea-borne vessels use this technology to meet their crew's water needs.
8 Incredible Advantages of Seawater Desalination
1. Provides people with access to clean and fresh drinking water
Desalination plants use reverse osmosis technology to remove salt and other minerals from seawater. Seawater is turned into potable drinking water that is clean and safe. It’s incredibly beneficial in areas with limited access to freshwater and drought-prone zones.
2. Provides ample water supply to agriculture
Besides drinking water, desalinated water can also be used for irrigation, thereby helping areas experiencing severe droughts.
3. Eco-friendly (Not dangerous to plants, animals, fishes, and the environment)
Desalination is a 100% safe process that doesn't cause any adverse effects on the environment, flora, and fauna. It helps in habitat protection.
4. Tried-and-tested technology that is effective and proven
The efficacy of seawater desalination plants has increased tremendously over the years. Today, desalination plants use energy-efficient motor pumps, advanced RO membranes to build seawater that is safe and potable.
5. It helps to conserve available freshwater supplies and prevents groundwater depletion.
As mentioned above, the freshwater supply on the planet is severely limited—furthermore, urbanisation, pollution, mindless consumption, increasing population all further impact the limited freshwater supplies. Desalination helps in eliminating water crises and conserving precious freshwater reserves.
6. Unlimited water from oceans
The oceans and seas cover 71% of the planet, thereby providing an inexhaustible seawater supply for desalination. So, even in times of drought, desalination plants ensure a constant supply of fresh water.
7. Desalination plants are safe and do not cause any damage to the environment.
Desalination plants are located away from the city, mostly in uninhabited or industrial zones. Therefore, they do not cause any damage to residential areas.
8. It does not rely on changing factors.
Desalination plants are not affected by adverse external factors like drought, snowfall, or rain for their operation. So, irrespective of the changing weather conditions, desalination plants can operate 365 days of the year.
How does Seawater Desalination Work?
The underlying technology is seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO). The basic principle of osmosis is that two different solutions of varying strengths are separated by a membrane. The solvent passes through the membrane until the ratios of solvent and solute are equal on both sides.
In seawater desalination, the process of osmosis is reversed by having one solution with no solute and the other solution that contains all the solute. Seawater is first passed through a low-pressure filtering system. In this step, the suspended solids in seawater are removed. In the next step, seawater is pressurized and pumped through several stages of RO membranes.
The high pressure causes the water to flow through the semi-permeable membranes in reverse, i.e., from high solute to low solute concentrate. In the final stage, salt and other dissolved minerals are left back on one side, and freshwater is collected on the other side.
Desalination removes not only salt and other solids from seawater but also viruses, bacteria, and other pollutants present in seawater.
Reverse Osmosis – The Hero of Seawater Desalination
Reverse osmosis is emerging as the de-facto choice of desalination plants. It's less energy-intensive and uses fewer resources than other desalination methods like multi-stage flash distillation and multi-effect distillation.
Seawater desalination plants are currently used in various countries like Singapore, United Arab Emirates, Israel, and Saudi Arabia, including India. So, what does this mean?
Will we all soon be drinking desalinated seawater?
Firstly, it's time we started getting serious about drinking water concerns. In India, every year, large cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, Delhi, and several others face an acute water crisis. Whether we like it or not, the future of drinking water lies in desalination plants. As our population increases, every year and the planet gets hotter every year, water crises will become more severe unless we take the right measures.
Sintech – Your Partner for Energy-Efficient Seawater Desalination Pumps
As the leading manufacturer of pumps for seawater desalination, Sintech Pumps has a huge line-up of pumps for desalination plants. Our desalination pumps have set the benchmark for the industry. We offer a wide range of pumping solutions to desalination plants in India and overseas.
There are numerous factors to consider while choosing pumps for seawater desalination. Some of the major factors include the type of facility, capacity of the facility, location of the plant, nature of the feedwater, desalination method employed, etc. Another major challenge of manufacturing pumps for the desalination industry is that not all pump metals are suitable for pumping seawater. Seawater is highly corrosive and requires pumps made of high-quality materials that can withstand extreme corrosion.
At Sintech, our pumps for seawater desalination is made of high-quality stainless steel and other corrosive-resistant metals. We can help you identify the right high-quality pump that best fits the needs of your seawater desalination plant. We also offer customized pumps to meet specific requirements. As leading exporters of industrialized pumps, we can also ship our pumps overseas. For more information on our desalination pumps, get in touch with our team.