Places throughout the world are facing a looming water crisis, including the hot, dry Middle East. Seawater desalination is considered one of the best ways to meet the water needs of the area's growing population, but the process can be energy intensive.
Some new technologies have aimed at making it more efficient, but Masdar, the clean tech organization that has been planning and building the green city of the future, is developing a technology that uses solar energy or other renewables to fully power desalination plants to provide the region with clean water in a clean way.
The region has been a hot spot for clean energy development, capitalizing on all those hot sunny days with solar power installations and it also produces 50 percent of the world's desalinated water. Developing this new technology will let the region solve one of its biggest problems with its clean tech industry and it's crucial that a sustainable solution is found.
Business Green reports, "In the UAE, seawater desalination requires about 10 times more energy than surface fresh water production and Masdar says costs are projected to increase by 300 per cent over the coming years."
"Connecting desalination technologies to renewable energy enables us to capitalise on our abundant resources, such as solar, as a solution to improve water security," Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, said in a statement. "This programme is the critical first step in identifying viable technologies that will lead to water security for future generations."
Masdar is currently accepting proposals from companies to pilot desalination technologies that are fully powered by renewable energy, with a focus on solar thermal. The chosen technologies will be financed and developed with Masdar. The organization will choose three pilot sites to test the technology over the next three and a half years and plans to start building a commercial-scale plant by 2020.