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  • Desalination is a process that removes salts and other dissolved solids from brackish water or seawater.
  • A desalination plant can be located on the coast or inland, depending on the water source.
  • There are several methods of Desalination treatment in use today. The major methods are categorized into two types: thermal and membrane.
  • The desalination process produces two streams of water.
  • One stream, called product water, is the desalinated water that is nearly devoid of salts and minerals.
  • The second stream, called brine or concentrate, contains high concentrations of salts and minerals (such as iron, chlorides, and sulfates) that remain after the desalination process.
  • A desalination plant can be located on the coast or inland, depending on the water source.
  • Technologies developed for desalination applications include distillation, reverse osmosis, electro-dialysis, and vacuum freezing. Distillation technologies include Multiple Effect Distillation (MED) and Multi-Stage Flashing (MSF).
  • The distillation process mimics the natural water cycle in that saline water is heated, producing water vapour that is in turn condensed to form fresh water.
  • RO is a membrane separation process in which the water from a pressurised saline solution is separated from the solutes (the dissolved material) by flowing through a membrane.
  • The development of electrodialysis provided a cost-effective way to desalt brackish water and spurred considerable interest in this area.
  • The vapour compression (VC) distillation process is generally used for small and medium scale sea water desalting units
  • The process which accounts for the most desalting capacity is multi-stage flash distillation, commonly referred to as the MSF process.
  • The multi effect distillation (MED) process has been used for industrial distillation for a long time.
  • The major Desalination plant suppliers have been from Europe (35%), Japan/Korea (28%) and the USA (27%). Most MSF plants have been supplied by European or Japanese/Korean companies, whereas the USA and Europe are the most important sources for RO plants.
  • Worldwide membrane and thermal desalination capacity is over 11 billion gallons per day from over 12 thousand plants, worth $9.2 billion per year, growing at rate of 12% per year.

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