To reduce the environmental impact of desalination plants, a good dilution of the brine is needed. Brine dilution may be carried out using diffusers, by mixing the concentrate with other effluents, or with seawater bypassing. Seawater bypassing increases the energy consumption of the plant but, thus far, this energy consumption has not been estimated. The environmental impact statement (EIS) of desalination plants in Alicante establishes a system of seawater bypassing for diluting brine and protecting the Posidonia oceanica
seagrass meadows. The aim of this paper is to quantify the energy consumption of brine dilution, which was necessary for meeting the environmental requirements from 2012 to 2018. During the research period, the plants’ operation was variable, as it depended on the supply needs. The results indicate that the energy consumption of the dilution systems fluctuated between 2,135,315 kWh in 2012 and 685,988 kWh in 2013, with an average consumption of 1,205,952 kWh for the selected period. The energy cost in 2012 was EUR 179,556, while that for 2013 was EUR 60,787, with an average annual cost of EUR 91,690. This interannual variability is due to the difference in the production values of the plants and in the dilution ratio, which oscillated between 2.5 and 7.5 seawater:brine. In addition, the dilution showed an additional cost of the energy consumed by the desalination plants of around 1.7% on average. However, it also allowed the fulfillment of the established requirements in the EIS and the protection of the Posidonia oceanica
seagrass from the discharge of the desalination plants.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited