Desalination of seawater using geothermal energy to meet future fresh water demand of Saudi Arabia

Chandrasekharam, D. and Lashin, A. and Al Arifi, N. and Al Bassam, A. and Varun, C. (2017) Desalination of seawater using geothermal energy to meet future fresh water demand of Saudi Arabia. Water Resources Management, 31 (3). pp. 781-792. ISSN 0920-4741


The future economy of the Middle East countries (GDP growth) depends on the availability of fresh water for domestic and agricultural sectors. Saudi Arabia, for example, consumes 275 L/day per capita of water that is generated from desalination process using 134 x 106 kWh of electricity. With 6 % population growth rate, demand for fresh water from fossil fuel based desalination plants will grow at an alarming rate. It has been reported that Saudi Arabia’s reliance on fossil fuels to generate electricity and generate fresh water through desalination using the same energy source is economically and politically unsustainable. This may lead to destabilisation of the global economy. However, Saudi Arabia has large geothermal resources along the Red Sea coast that can be developed to generate power and support the generation of fresh water through desalination. The cost of fresh water can be further lowered from the current US$ 0.03/m3. Among the gulf countries, Saudi Arabia can become the leader in controlling CO2 emissions and mitigating the impact on climate change and agricultural production. This will enable the country to meet the growing demand of food and energy for the future population for several decades and to reduce food imports. © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to Published version, in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 15 May 2019 04:32
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2019 05:33
Uncontrolled Keywords: CO2 emissions; desalination; food security; geothermal; Saudi Arabia
Fields of Research (2008): 04 Earth Sciences > 0406 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience > 040603 Hydrogeology
05 Environmental Sciences > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management
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