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Water Desalination

What is Water Desalination :

Desalination can turn seawater into potable water through prepared filtration and Membane Technology – also known as RO, or Reverse Osmosis. Nimbus Water can assist with water analysis, water sampling, bench – top testing, to determine the most cost effective technology and filtration processes to treat sea water, or brackish water.

Few would disagree that the planet is running out of sources of vitally important freshwater. And – as the worldwide population continues to rapidly increase, and as droughts continue to plague the planet – most would agree that something needs to be done quickly to alleviate this growing concern. Otherwise, by 2025, two-thirds of the world‘s population could live in countries with severe water shortages.

Of the many desalination methods that exist, reverse osmosis is the most common, constituting 49.2% of installed desalination capacity worldwide, as of July 2006. Reverse osmosis is accomplished by pumping seawater at high pressure through a permeable material that allows the water to pass through, but not the salt and other minerals. This is often done in multiple stages. The end result of the entire procedure is usable freshwater. Close to 50% of the supplied water is recovered, with the other half rendered unusable due to the high mineral content. Israel is home to the planets largest reverse osmosis plant, capable of producing 100 million cubic meters of water per year.

In the case of reverse osmosis, since 50% of the supply water is recovered, it means that the other 50% is now twice as saline as it was originally. If a desalination facility is located along a coastline, it is possible under certain circumstances to return this waste water to the ocean, but only if it does not exceed a safe level of salinity. If the facility is located inland, the challenges of proper waste product disposal increase, as one cannot simply release it into freshwater streams, ponds, lakes, etc. Similar to many solutions discovered by mankind, desalination produces a useless by-product in the process of creating a useful product. Will it come to be recognized as a viable solution? Time will tell.

97% - What About Sea Water Treatment

With 97% of the planets water found in the oceans, one possible solution is desalination. This term refers to any of several processes that remove salt and other fine particulates from ocean water, treated wastewater and brackish water (a mixture of fresh and saltwater). More than 100 countries desalinize water; Saudi Arabia leads the way, accounting for 24% of the worlds capacity.


Another popular method of desalination is known as distillation. This process uses evaporation to separate salt and other impurities from saltwater. As the water is heated, it evaporates and leaves behind the unwanted materials. The steam is collected and condensed in a container, while the waste product is ejected. An advantage of distillation is that it uses thermal energy (sunlight) rather than conventional fossil fuels as its source of power, resulting in a more environmentally friendly solution. The drawback is that it yields less freshwater than does reverse osmosis. No matter the method of desalination used, an extremely concentrated – and potentially harmful – waste product is always produced. (The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has classified it as industrial waste, thus requiring proper disposal.)