Published on February 16th, 2008 | by Joe Mohr12
Low-Energy Water Desalination From Seawater Greenhouse
Three-hundred twenty-six million trillion! It sounds like a number I would come up with as a kid, say, in reference to the number of things I find disgusting about my sister, or the number of reasons I need a new bike, or the number of mosquito bites I got on a weekend camping trip. But, it turns out, 326 million trillion is a real number. It happens to be (approximately—because who could count them all?) the number of gallons of water on our wonderful planet (Earth). That’s an overwhelming, impressive and — when you learn that 98% of that water is ocean water, and therefore too salty to consume, or use for irrigation — frustrating figure!
In these times where climate chaos has caused more frequent severe droughts, and our population continues to grow (read: consume water) at an awesome rate, people are becoming more and more concerned with water conservation. Humanity finds itself increasingly at a loss for freshwater while roughly 315 million trillion gallons of unusable seawater taunts us from our shores.
Sure, desalination plants are becoming more common. They are very expensive, however, and so energy intensive that they only further contribute to the climate change they are attempting remedy (thereby, joining corn-based ethanol as the two largest non-solutions to our climate problems).
Fear not my fellow water-loving earthlings! There is an even better way to remove the salt from salt water: a Seawater Greenhouse! This UK-based company explains the process as one that:
uses seawater to cool and humidify the air that ventilates the greenhouse and sunlight to distill fresh water from seawater. This enables the year round cultivation of high value crops that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to grow in hot, arid (conditions).
The overall process produces water at the energy cost of less than 3kWh/m3. I can think of 326 million trillion reasons to get excited about this solution! For more information on the Seawater Greenhouse visit www.seawatergreenhouse.com.
Image: Seawater Greenhouse, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Source: Seawater Greenhouse Gallery