Desalination provides an enticing solution to the growing global water crisis due to the availability of saltwater around the world. Over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by water. Although water is seemingly abundant, the real issue is the amount of freshwater available. More than 97% of all water on Earth is saltwater – leaving only 2.5% as freshwater. Of that, 1.75% is frozen in the ice caps of Antarctica and Greenland. Most of the remainder is present as soil moisture or lies in deep underground aquifers and is therefore not accessible for human use.
Of the Earth’s fresh water, only 0.3% is in liquid form on the surface. Agriculture is responsible for 87% of the total water used globally, wasting as much as 60% of the total water pumped before it reaches the intended crop. Municipalities (human needs) and industry (miners, heavy industry, etc.) use the rest.
Currently, 30% of Australia’s water consumption is comprised of desalinated water. San Diego utilizes a 52 million gallon-per-day desalination plant at a cost of 800 million dollars. Saudi Arabia is constructing two similar-sized plants primarily because their shallow rechargeable aquifer is now depleted. The Saudis, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Qatar are all drilling down to the deep non-rechargeable aquifer in what has been called “the race to the bottom.” China has 2 aquifers, one of which is depleted, and the other is well on its way to depletion. Many municipalities in California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and west Texas are in dire need of potable water and, as a result, are advertising to purchase it.
The two current technologies for desalinating seawater are reverse osmosis and distillation, both of which are extremely expensive. The high cost of reverse osmosis comes from the high energy requirement of the constant pumping of water through filters and nano screens. Since Reliable One’s desalination apparatus operates via the water stream being fed at low pressure across the newly discovered desalination membrane, it requires an extremely low energy input and consequently is proving to be a small fraction of the energy cost of either reverse osmosis or distillation.
Estimated operating costs for Reliable One’s mobile desalination unit:
Throughput of 250 gpm, 360,000 gal/ day
Electricity required = 6 kw
Daily costs of electricity @ $0.10/ kwh = $14.40
Daily cost of belts = $136.98
Daily cost of maintenance = $166.67
Prorated daily cost of equipment, based on 50-year life = $ 6.85
Total daily costs = $ 324.90
Cost/gallon @ 360,000 gal/ day = $ .000903 (15% of municipal desalination)