Desalination plants and Water from the Atmosphere comparisons, pros and Cons.
Water from a desalination plant and water from an atmospheric water generator (AWG), often referred to as a “Water from the Air” machine, are two distinct methods for obtaining freshwater, and they have several key differences:
Source of Water:
Desalination Plant: Desalination plants typically use seawater as their source. They remove the salt and other impurities to produce fresh water. However, they reject roughly 50% of water intake and send it back to the source with double the salt called brine or reject..
Water from the Air (AWG): AWGs extract moisture from the atmosphere, typically in regions with high -medium humidity. They do not rely on a specific water source like oceans or rivers.
Desalination Plant: Desalination plants remove salt and other minerals from seawater, producing high-purity freshwater. The resulting water is usually suitable for drinking, irrigation, and industrial pur-poses.
Water from the Air (AWG): Water from AWGs is generally pure and free from minerals and salts. How-ever, its purity can depend on the local air quality and humidity levels and filtration system used.
Energy Requirements and costs:
Desalination Plant: Desalination is an energy-intensive process, often requiring substantial amounts of electricity or thermal energy for the separation of salt from water. It can be expensive to operate and usually has a power station or dedicated power station close at hand although a move towards renew-ables has resulted. The 18,000 desalination plants worldwide use 25% of energy consumed in the wa-ter sector. A typical Desalination plant can cost upwards of 1.4 billion -1.8 Billion dollars with an an-nual operational cost of $20 + million. These factors that determine costs are based on the size of the facility, location, feed water, labour, energy and the reject concentrate disposal. The cost to generate the water is passed onto the consumer.
Water from the Air (AWG): AWGs also require energy, primarily for cooling and condensation pro-cesses. However, they may be more energy-efficient than desalination plants, especially in regions with high humidity. Primarily this type of machine can operate on Solar or wind power as power re-quirement are less.
Desalination Plant: The environmental impact of desalination can be significant. It may harm marine ecosystems due to the intake and discharge/reject of seawater, and energy consumption can contrib-ute to greenhouse gas emissions. Efforts to disperse the brine (reject) is undertaken by multiple long pipes located on the seabed and thus aimed out to sea.
Water from the Air (AWG): AWGs generally have a lower environmental impact because they do not involve the extraction or discharge of large volumes of water, nor do they require extensive infrastruc-ture near bodies of water.
Location and Accessibility:
Desalination Plant: Desalination plants are typically located near coastlines to access seawater, mak-ing them less suitable for landlocked regions. They require a substantial power infrastructure and transportation networks. The water is generally sent back to the water dispersal points storage for use.
Water from the Air (AWG): AWGs can be used in a wider range of locations, including landlocked ar-eas, as long as there is sufficient humidity in the air. They are often more accessible in remote or off-grid locations.
Desalination Plant: Desalination plants are usually large-scale facilities designed to meet the water needs of entire communities or regions thus making voluminous amounts of water.
Water from the Air (AWG): AWGs come in various sizes, from small residential units to larger systems suitable for commercial or industrial use. They offer more scalability and flexibility in addressing spe-cific water demands and locations.
In summary, while both desalination plants and atmospheric water generators produce freshwater, they differ in terms of their water source, purity, energy requirements, environmental impact, accessibility, and scalability.
The choice between the two methods depends on factors such as location, water quantity require-ments, energy availability, and environmental considerations.