The purification of seawater can be achieved in a number of ways. Desalination is one of them and it involves extracting salts and minerals from saline, salt or seawater. It is a water treatment purification process that is used extensively around the World and its use is increasing as population growth, industrialisation and climate change impact the demands for clean water suitable for drinking purposes.
Salt water is commonly desalinated in order to produce purified water that is suitable for humans to drink (potable water) or use for the irrigation of crops. When salt water is desalinated it produces fresh water with salt as a by-product.
When was desalination first used?
Desalination as a water purification method is a very old process.
So old in fact that Greek sailors are credited with having come up with the idea in the 4th century BC so they could create drinking water from sea water.
Nowadays however, we have various methods of creating drinking water from other sources.
Purification for industrial applications
Industry uses water in a variety of ways.
Desalination is a real water purification alternative to help meet the growing demands for more potable water that is independent of rainfall.
Being able to take minerals and other solids out of the water through a treatment process means the resulting water is clean enough to be used as drinking water, in industrial processes or for irrigation.
In some cases you will often see desalination installations close to electricity generation plants.
This is because the water purification process of desalination uses lots of energy.
Electricity generating plants have ample amounts of this that can be used to good effect by powering the water cleansing desal process.
Methods of seawater purification
Desalination can be achieved in a variety of ways.
Vacuum distillation, geothermal desalination, membrane processes (Reverse Osmosis) and even solar desalination are all potential methods that can be used to cleanse and treat water so that it can be drunk, used in industry or for irrigating crops in agriculture.
Water can be desalinated using this water purification process when it has been taken from the sea, or from other saltwater sources and locations.
Even on a small scale, businesses can sometimes put desalination into action on-site if they have the right equipment and processes to be able to do so.
How can it help?
The process of sea water purification is rapidly growing in its importance especially in dry, arid areas of the World like India, Saudi Arabia, California and Australia that have little annual rainfall.
Such countries have historically relied on efficient rainwater collection, rivers, reservoirs and dams to provide their drinking water supplies but as the impact of population growth, increased industrialisation and the effects of climate change impact such regions the demands for drinking water and water used for industrial processes is rapidly outstripping the ability to supply from such sources.
Water purification using desalination is therefore a real alternative to help meet the growing demands for more potable water that is independent of rainfall.
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