Qatar Mulls Solar Desalination
Desalination’s biggest setback is the amount of energy required to turn seawater into drinking water. Some would point to nuclear energy as a source of desalination power, but that is not a political reality anytime soon. More energy efficient desalination solutions are on the horizon, and with water scarcity a growing threat, the race is on to meld saltwater processing with clean energy. Now Qatar is researching the potential of using solar energy to fuel desalination plants. The Qatar Energy and Environment Research Institute (QEERI) has a launched a feasibility study, and will engage the Spanish research center CIEMAT to determine whether solar desalination is a realistic option. According to Ross Jackson of the Gulf Times:
The business plan calls for a 300 kilowatt concentrated solar power (CSP) parabolic mirror trough connected to a desalination system, with an integrated with molten-salt storage tank to capture thermal energy and supply power after sunset.With Middle East gulf states like Qatar now booming and water stewardship a growing concern, projects like those considered by QEERI could prove to be an option for other countries thirsty for fresh water: if the technology and infrastructure are cost effective and scalable. This project is just another example of how Qatar is emerging as a global solar laboratory.