Solar thermal electricity generation and desalination in the Southwestern United States

Dexinghui Kong, Keith Holbert

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

There are direct links between water and energy use, sometimes referred to as the energy-water nexus. Water rights issues have confronted the southwestern U.S. for a long time. Furthermore, climate change is decreasing the already limited water resources in this region, and the growing population in the Southwest has also increased the consumption of freshwater. Here we study solar energy, which is abundant in the Southwest, as both an electric power source and the energy source to operate a desalination plant. We compare the use of different desalination technologies for seawater and brackish groundwater, which have different salinities. The data show that the dual-purpose reverse osmosis desalination plant is the most economical choice. However, since a multiple-effect desalination (MED) and a multistage-flash (MSF) can use waste heat for water production, desalinated water becomes a byproduct of the electric power plant, thus dual-purpose MED and MSF plants will be more economical than a single-purpose power plant. A MED plant using seawater or brackish water produces fresh water for $1.73/m3, while the costs are $2.811m3 and $2.65/m3 for a MSF plant using seawater and brackish water, respectively.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNorth American Power Symposium 2010, NAPS 2010
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 17 2010
EventNorth American Power Symposium 2010, NAPS 2010 - Arlington, TX, United States
Duration: Sep 26 2010Sep 28 2010

Publication series

NameNorth American Power Symposium 2010, NAPS 2010

Other

OtherNorth American Power Symposium 2010, NAPS 2010
CountryUnited States
CityArlington, TX
Period9/26/109/28/10

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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