martes, 9 de marzo de 2010

Seawater desalination plants to be powered by sun in desertic Saudi Arabia

Saudi water desalination plants like this one to be powered by the sun.

We can read in a flash of Euro-Mediterranean Information System on the know-how in the Water Sector ( EMWIS)- EMWIS is a program of the Union for the Mediterranean- that Saudi Arabia's national science agency announced a new initiative to build solar-powered desalination plants to reduce water and energy costs by 40 percent, Arab News reports. Saudi Arabia uses 1.5 million barrels of oil per day at its plants, according to Arab News. But the solar-powered plants will help keep costs down. Prices for desalinated water have been trending upward in Saudi Arabia in recent years, said the Saudi Minister of Water and Electricity, Emirates Business reported. Saudi political leaders hope research from the initiative will position the country as a major producer of renewable energy. Research and development will be carried out by King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology--the national science agency--and the King Abdullah University for Science and Technology. The initiative will be carried out in several stages, and the first plant will be a small, 30,000 cubic meter per day facility in Al-Khafji. In comparison, the Shoaiba 3 project on Saudi Arabia's west coast is the world's largest plant, producing 880,000 m3/d. During the initiative's second phase, a 100,000 m3/d plant will be built. Eventually a network of plants across the country.
By the way, replacing oil with sun power for desalination plants does not only save fossil fuels, notably petroleum, for the demand of the actual market.It may be used too in petrochemical industries for future generations; or to use it in producing new alternative clean electricity energy with viable methods for capturing and storing CO2 in the future. All these green alternatives mean a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, mainly CO2. That would be a notable contribution in the struggle against global warming and climate change. The price of desalinated water will too not rise when oil prices rise.
Now the challenge is to find the most efficient and economically most viable technology; and with less greenhouse gas emissions during the process of fabrication of the water desalination plant equipments.Lessons can be learned from Spanish experience in solar power plants.Would it be a photovoltaic solar power plant using photovoltaic panels or a thermal solar power plant using mirrors to focus the sun’s energy ?

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