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.

About The Author

Leon Kaye

Leon Kaye is the founder and editor of GreenGoPost.com. Based in California, he is a business writer and consultant. His work is has also appeared on Triple Pundit , The Guardian's Sustainable Business site and has appeared on Inhabitat and Earth911. His focus is making the business case for sustainability and corporate social responsibility. He's pictured here in Qatar, one of the Middle East countries in which he takes a keen interest because of its transformation into a post-oil economy. Other areas of interest include sustainable development in The Balkans, Brazil and Korea. He was a new media journalism fellow at the International Reporting Project, for which he covered child survival in India during February 2013. Contact him at leon@greengopost.com. You can also reach out via Twitter (@LeonKaye) and Instagram (GreenGoPost). As of October 2013, he now lives and works in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.