Share on: logo linkedin

Water Desalination


Water Desalination is the conversion of sea water into potable water.

Desalination is a process commonly used in desert regions which can not use rivers, lakes, or ground waters as viable source for populations.

Removing the salts and other minerals from seawater will be the only source of potable water for 15% of the world population by 2025.

Water Salinity levels Diagram
Water Salinity levels


The process to produce clean water from saltwater is a large consumer of energy, more or less 3kWh per cubic meter, meaning 15 times more than the energy required for river water treatment.

NEOM Project Solar Evaporation
NEOM Project Solar Evaporation

Different processes exist to treat saltwater, the main technologies are:

  • Reverse Osmosis
    This is the most used process for water desalination worldwide as it is the less energy intensive. The concept is to pressure saline water on a semipermeable membrane which will let the water molecules flow through while retaining the mineral components.
  • Thermal Distillation
    Electricity or fossil energy is used for the heating of salty water, generating steam without salts that is later cooled to obtain clean liquid water.
  • Flash Evaporation
    Flash evaporation is the generation of steam by exposing the salt water to a brutal pressure drop. The salt water is thus vaporized by repeating the drop, vapor which is later cooled to form clean water.
  • Solar Evaporation
    Solar Evaporation is a process in pilot phase with promising results which aim to recreate and concentrate the natural evaporation. A transparent dome is installed with mirrors on the top of a saline water pool to concentrate the heat and generate steam. The steam is later converted into clean water.
Flash Evaporation of saline water by a sudden pressure drop
Flash Evaporation of saline water by a sudden pressure drop

Water Desalination has experienced a sharp decrease in energy consumption over the last years, yet the main challenge concern the scraps. In fact, the outputs of Water Desalination is not only clean water but brine, solid salt deposits and in some cases cleaning chemicals.

All of these components are harmful for the seawater in which they are released, meaning projects now require post water treatment units to be harmless for their environment.

The 2020s will experienced an acceleration in the number of projects for Water Desalination and Water Treatment. Acceleration which will gain even more momentum later mainly due to the growing population worldwide.

And of course, you can count on Project Smart Explorer to guide you on these projects:

To get regular news about the Energy market and the digitalization,
you can subscribe to our newsletter at this link
Scroll to Top