The viability of renewable energy and energy storage for the provision of power for desalination

Dansoh, Clifford Kwabena Nimakoh (2012). The viability of renewable energy and energy storage for the provision of power for desalination. PhD thesis The Open University.



This research investigates the viability of renewable energy and energy storage to meet a significant and fundamental human need (in this case, large-scale drinking water supplies) unassisted by conventional power.

The use of renewable energy to power reverse osmosis desalination plants to provide potable water for around 50,000 people in Newhaven, in South East England, and in Massawa in Eritrea, was investigated. The following energy sources, in a variety of combinations were specifically assessed:
• Wind Power
• Wave Power
• Solar Power
• Tidal Current Power
• Hydrogen production, storage and use in Fuel Cells.

The following types of reverse osmosis plants were studied:
• No Brine Stream Recovery (BSR) reverse osmosis plant
• Pelton Wheel BSR reverse osmosis plant
• Pressure Exchanger BSR reverse osmosis plant.

Modelling was conducted to derive the amount of water that each reverse osmosis plant would deliver from various combinations and amounts of renewable power input, at varying feedwater temperatures. Scenarios that were not able to deliver enough water to meet the users' needs were scaled-up so that they could.

The cost of the scaled-up scenarios that were able to meet the users' water demands were compared with the costs associated with the equivalent conventionally-powered scenario over a 25-year life. Specifically, the following were considered:
• A coal-fired plant with carbon capture and storage (CCS) at Newhaven and
• A diesel generator at Massawa.

This comparison was made with and without the external costs associated with conventional energy production and use.

The most financially-attractive scenario at each site was then assessed for its ability to meet the daily demand for water, over the course of a year.

A comparison of the most financially-attractive renewable energy option and the equivalent conventionally-powered scenario at Massawa was undertaken, based on Net Present Value (NPV) methodology.

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