Day: April 21, 2017

Desalination plants

Desalination plants

Desalination plants

04/21/17

“How can we make saltwater drinkable for humans?”

 

Humanity is running into a problem. With each year our water supplies are getting lower and lower. Soon enough, we may not be able to provide ourselves with one of the most basic components of life.

 

But does it have to be this way?
If we apply our engineering mindsets, then we can devise a method for water purification to sustain our livelihoods. To begin, let’s start out with some simple chemistry. 96% of the water on this planet is stored in oceans as salinated water. And because of its salty nature, by default, it is unsafe for human consumption. However, we must take one more fact into consideration, that the evaporation point of liquid water is lower than that of salt. So what if we used some simple logic and create a device that would heat salt water up until the point of evaporation, move it over into another container, and then condense it into drinkable water? Well, this is the fundamental idea behind a system which engineers have termed desalination plants, and are used to treat saltwater around the world. One downside of traditional desalination plants is the vast amount of energy required to heat up the water, taking around 5 kWh for a cubic meter of just fresh water!