The need for freshwater is considered a critical global problem, consequently the demand for alternative sustainable water sources including ground water, desalinated water, and recycled water has increased over recent years and, as a result, the implementation of desalination plants is growing on a large scale. Desalination processes are applied widely via different technologies. Reverse osmosis (RO) is known as the most widely developed commercial technology. However, RO is an electrically driven process and the electrical energy demand of the RO process is traditionally supplied by combustion of fossil fuels, which causes many adverse environment issues including greenhouse gas emission. There are recent emerging techniques which are aiming to develop more sustainable ways of desalination systems by thermal and/or membrane-based processes particularly in integration to waste heat or solar energy sources. Membrane distillation (MD) as a membrane based thermal driven process in integration with sustainable energy sources proposed as a promising technology to operate separately or in conjunction with other desalination systems in recent years.
The main research streams, which are under investigation in RMIT Energy Conservation and Renewable (Energy Care) group, aim to develop sustainable water desalination technologies by using waste heat or renewable energy sources.
Project timeline: 2017 - 2019
This project addresses the following Sustainable Development Goals and Targets: