Renewable and sustainable approaches for desalination

Veera Gnaneswar Gude, Nagamany Nirmalakhandan, Shuguang Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

362 Scopus citations


Freshwater and energy are essential commodities for well being of mankind. Due to increasing population growth on the one hand, and rapid industrialization on the other, today's world is facing unprecedented challenge of meeting the current needs for these two commodities as well as ensuring the needs of future generations. One approach to this global crisis of water and energy supply is to utilize renewable energy sources to produce freshwater from impaired water sources by desalination. Sustainable practices and innovative desalination technologies for water reuse and energy recovery (staging, waste heat utilization, hybridization) have the potential to reduce the stress on the existing water and energy sources with a minimal impact to the environment. This paper discusses existing and emerging desalination technologies and possible combinations of renewable energy sources to drive them and associated desalination costs. It is suggested that a holistic approach of coupling renewable energy sources with technologies for recovery, reuse, and recycle of both energy and water can be a sustainable and environment friendly approach to meet the world's energy and water needs. High capital costs for renewable energy sources for small-scale applications suggest that a hybrid energy source comprising both grid-powered energy and renewable energy will reduce the desalination costs considering present economics of energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)X2641-2654
JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
Issue number9
StatePublished - Dec 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Cogeneration
  • Desalination
  • Energy cost
  • Environment
  • Green house gases
  • Renewable energy
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Water reuse

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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