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Water desalination plants

  1. Jan 22, 2006 #1
    Of the more than 7,500 desalination plants in operation worldwide, 60% are located in the Middle East. The world's largest plant in Saudi Arabia produces 128 MGD of desalted water. In contrast, 12% of the world's capacity is produced in the Americas, with most of the plants located in the Caribbean and Florida.

    http://www.coastal.ca.gov/desalrpt/dchap1.html [Broken]
    Last edited by a moderator: May 2, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 22, 2006 #2


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    Yes, the Middle East does have some fresh water problems and SA is so wealthy, they were able to construct those plants.
  4. Jan 22, 2006 #3
    Apparently one of the desalination plants in the bay area in Florida never really got up and running at full capacity. It has passed hands through several companies so far, and it doesn't look like it has been too profitable.

    Florida gets fairly regular rainy seasons though (with the occasional drought like any geographical location) and I see more of a legitimate need for such facilities in areas such as California, Nevada, Arizona, or New Mexico, where water is already scarce.
  5. Jan 22, 2006 #4
    Up here in Canada we have so much fresh water that we haven't even heard the phrase "desalanation plant". I don't even know how they work.
  6. Jan 22, 2006 #5


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    I'll pull an astronauc here and bust out some links before he can!


    Ok well i'm not that good at what he does.
  7. Jan 22, 2006 #6


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    Well when it comes to treating bodies of water to produce drinkable water, we can classify water according to their treatment in 5 groups. The desalination process will be in the fift group for special treatments of water. This is a special process because it usually doesn't only require the conventional filtration treatment, or other before and/or after alternatively treatment because of the contamination.

    The desalination process of sea water or brackish water has basicly 4 main treatments which are:

    Distillation: Basicly filtrate the salts out of the water.

    Solar Evaporation: The seawater goes throught compartments of shallow depth which are covered by crystals or plastic materials. The lack of moist of the salts which condenses on the deck is picked up by small canals.

    Freezing: Basicly the temperature of seawater is lowered til it forms ice crystals. These are free of salts, but must go throught cleaning processes with fresh water.

    Electrodialysis: This is an electrochemical process which eliminates the ions of the crystalloids of the water, possible because of diffusion throught a colloidal membrane. This method is mostly used on brackish water.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2006
  8. Jan 22, 2006 #7


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    What about groundwater?? It's better in my opinion. Of course as long as it is extracted with responsability. The only problems i see with groundwater is the obvious contamination with seawater because of breaking the Gyben -Hertzberg (spl?) equilibrium and the ground movements. I imagine the groundwater reserves of the USA aren't (at least have less contamination) contaminated by chemical substances or other?

    Oh and btw, this should go on general engineering, unless the OP is interested in how the chemical processes of desalination works.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2006
  9. Jan 23, 2006 #8

    The unit MGD, how big is it. To me MGD stands for Miller Genuine Draft.

    I was wondering what if a nuclear power plant (e.g., 1.2 Gw) were dedicated to operation of a desalination plant, how much fresh water could be produced?
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