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Water 2016, 8(12), 601;

Predicting the Specific Energy Consumption of Reverse Osmosis Desalination

Department of Civil and Environmental and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA
Department of Mechanical Engineering, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Stephen Gray and Hideto Matsuyama
Received: 23 September 2016 / Revised: 8 December 2016 / Accepted: 9 December 2016 / Published: 16 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advanced Membranes for Water Treatment)
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Desalination is often considered an approach for mitigating water stress. Despite the abundance of saline water worldwide, additional energy consumption and increased costs present barriers to widespread deployment of desalination as a municipal water supply. Specific energy consumption (SEC) is a common measure of the energy use in desalination processes, and depends on many operational and water quality factors. We completed multiple linear regression and relative importance statistical analyses of factors affecting SEC using both small-scale meta-data and municipal-scale empirical data to predict the energy consumption of desalination. Statistically significant results show water quality and initial year of operations to be significant and important factors in estimating SEC, explaining over 80% of the variation in SEC. More recent initial year of operations, lower salinity raw water, and higher salinity product water accurately predict lower values of SEC. Economic analysis revealed a weak statistical relationship between SEC and cost of water production. Analysis of associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions revealed important considerations of both electricity source and SEC in estimating the GHG-related sustainability of desalination. Results of our statistical analyses can aid decision-makers by predicting the SEC of desalination to a reasonable degree of accuracy with limited data. View Full-Text
Keywords: desalination; greenhouse gas emissions; multiple linear regression; specific energy consumption; statistical analysis desalination; greenhouse gas emissions; multiple linear regression; specific energy consumption; statistical analysis

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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 (CC BY 4.0).

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Stillwell, A.S.; Webber, M.E. Predicting the Specific Energy Consumption of Reverse Osmosis Desalination. Water 2016, 8, 601.

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