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July 25, 2012

Essay Paper on Desalination in California


Desalination refers to a process that purges some amount of salt and mineral of the sea water to make it useable for the human beings. Desalination enables human beings to convert the salt water into fresh and later use it either for irrigation or drinking.
Desalination uses evaporation via thermal heating, to separate water impurities salts. Its major disadvantage is the tremendous energy consumed by that process.
Membrane filtration uses it, the reverse osmosis process for retain the salts contained in water. The salt water penetrates and end of the membrane under a pressure of 80 bar, and after passing membrane, the water is freed of 99% of its salt.
Desalination has become particularly competitive, and therefore more and more used, especially as a hybrid offer was gradually developed from the example of Fujairah, the Emirates UAE. Technology called hybrid combines indeed, so complementary, the thermal and reverse osmosis in order to optimize the energy consumption based on consumption periods.(Pamela, 2008)
Desalination in California
The desalination of sea water are becoming cheaper and cheaper while the water needs of some regions, including California and the Middle East are becoming increasingly larger. California is very dependent on its neighbors who provide much of the water it needs. State sees this in the desalination process a way to become independent in terms of water production and reduce the exploitation of groundwater.
Furthermore, the technique comes from 1.2 to 1.5 times more expensive than the "importation" while it was 300 times more a decade ago. Currently, about 12,000 cubic meters of water a day are produced by desalination plants in California. Many local authorities have plans to build their own factory, like the Marin Municipal Water District (MMWD), the public agency in Marin County near San Francisco who wants to install a unit of 40,000 cubic meters of water. In total, the Commission of the coast of California (California Coastal Commission) has identified twenty projects that would produce 900,000 cubic meters of drinking water per day.(Bankus, 2009)
However, some fear that the environmental impacts outweigh the expected benefits. Moreover, a report named "Seawater desalination and the California coastal act" was published in March 2004 by the Commission of California coastline. Knowing that few studies have been conducted on environmental risks, the project authorities remain cautious.

The effect on marine life must be particularly taken into account. Thus, many marine organisms can be trained in making the sea water, including the plankton, larvae and fish eggs. However, the report estimates that the impact can be minimized or avoided by 'a location, an appropriate facility design and operation. The Commission also holds the viewpoint that the desalination processes use the least amount of substances which contain dangerous chemicals. Last recommendation: local authorities should not eliminate alternatives to desalination such as recycling, the search for new sources, reducing consumption by individual systems such as flow control, etc.(Bernstein, 2007)
These instructions have been followed by the MMWD currently preparing for its plant project an environmental impact study. It continues parallel to develop alternative solutions. In July 2008, there were more than 25 projects of desalination plants in California that would cover a total of 200 plants assets a giant $ 300 million near San Diego.
It cost $ 1.50 a liter to desalinate seawater by 1990 and 50 cents in 2003. The best plants consume 3.7 kilowatts / hour to produce 1 m3 of drinking water, such as Perth in Australia which is equipped with Energy Recovery System. The plant in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, which entered the market in 1980 consumed 8 kW / h per m3 of water.
Globally, 56% of raw water is the desalination of seawater, while in the State of California, United States this water represents only 17% of raw water for desalination, mainly because they are readily available in large quantities of brackish (Cooley et al. 2006). Note that in this study, it was not considered the use of treated wastewater and raw water to power the desalination water as such it has not yet been accepted by the public as a source of drinking water.(Hammond, 2009)
It is estimated that for example, for a combined capacity of 1.7 million cubic meters per day, desalination plants currently under consideration in California would increase the energy expenditure required for the production of drinking water by 5% from its 2001 level. But that year, the energy cost needed to produce the overall water consumption of the state already represented 19% of the expenditure total energy in California.
The additional cost of desalination is analyzed with respect to the share of total energy consumed for total production of water. World production of desalinated water currently stands at 47 million cubic meters per day, or 0.45% of the daily consumption of fresh water on our planet. It is growing, the order of 10% per year [1]. Of these, 58% - or 25 million cubic meters of drinking water - are regularly consumed from desalinated sea water, the rest from brackish * instance from recycling. (Bowser, 2010)
The Middle East, the main producer in the world, alone accounts for nearly half with a combined capacity of 11 million cubic meters per day. This situation is rapidly changing. For, long confined to the wealthy Persian Gulf countries, factories now colonize other coastal areas from California to Spain, the Caribbean to Southeast Asia.(Endean, 2008)
There are over 10,000 desalination plants around the world, they produce about 35 million m3 of water per day, and the desalination industry is booming particularly in the Middle East, or Australia, Spain, India, China, USA, etc.This volume is expected to triple by 2015.

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