Life cycle cost of dilution desalination in off-grid locations: A study of water reuse integrated with seawater desalination technology

P. Pazouki, R.A. Stewart, E. Bertone, F. Helfer, N. Ghaffour
Desalination, Vol. 49, p.114584, (2020)


Forward osmosis, Reverse osmosis, Ultrafiltration, Dilution desalination, Economic analysis, Low-pressure reverse osmosis, Seawater and wastewater


​Seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination is a proven technology for augmenting water supply in remote areas with limited access to fresh water resources. Lowering the energy consumption of SWRO is crucial in such areas where the source of energy is often reliant on transported liquid fuels. This study presents a life cycle cost model for two diluted desalination processes using water reuse to dilute seawater, and reduce energy consumption. The economic model details the life cycle capital and operational costs of i) a baseline SWRO desalination, ii) alternative osmotic dilution desalination in a forward osmosis (FO)–reverse osmosis (RO) hybrid system, and iii) a mixed dilution desalination process in an ultrafiltration (UF)–RO system. The results reveal a 4–5% lower total water cost associated with the two alternative processes compared to conventional SWRO. Sensitivity analysis revealed that the FO–RO system is an economically viable alternative to standalone RO if a water flux ≥6 L·m−2 h−1 and a recovery rate >25% can be achieved. The sensitivity analysis showed that diluted desalination with UF–RO was economically preferable to SWRO even when the water flux and recovery rate of UF meet only minimum thresholds (18 L·m−2 h−1 and 55%, respectively).




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