Chapter 12 Renewable Energy Powered Water Treatment Systems

Bryce S. Richards, Andrea I. Schäfer

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

7 Citations (Scopus)


There are many motivations for considering the use of renewable energy (RE) for powering water reuse or desalination systems. Although many RE technologies have been combined with water treatment technologies to provide a specific solution, the two dominant ones are photovoltaic- (PV) and wind-powered desalination systems. This chapter explores the possibilities and challenges for such technologies on a global scale. It is noted that solar technologies are particularly promising for powering water treatment schemes, given the synergy between resource and load matching that exists in summer. The concept of designing systems that possess no energy storage devices is discussed, with the alternative being storing enough product water. Finally, to demonstrate the performance of such systems, the operation of a PV-powered membrane system desalinating brackish water in outback Australia over a solar day is described. Such a system was able to tolerate large fluctuations in solar irradiance availability; however, more extensive testing is required before a more conclusive answer can be provided as to whether the use of batteries in such systems can be truly avoided. © 2010 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSustainability Science and Engineering
Subtitle of host publicationSustainable Water for the Future: Water Recycling versus Desalination
EditorsIsabel C. Escobar, Andrea I. Schäfer
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • desalination
  • energy storage
  • photovoltaic
  • renewable energy
  • solar
  • water treatment


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