DesaLink: solar powered desalination of brackish groundwater giving high output and high recovery

T.Y. Qiu, O.N. Igobo, P.A. Davies

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Desalination of groundwater is essential in many arid areas that are far from both seawater and fresh water resources. The ideal groundwater desalination system should operate using a sustainable energy source and provide high water output per land area and cost. To avoid discharging voluminous brine, it should also provide high recovery. To achieve these aims, we have designed DesaLink, a novel approach to linking the solar Rankine cycle to reverse osmosis (RO). To achieve high recovery without the need for multiple RO stages, DesaLink adopts a batch mode of operation. It is suited to use with a variety of solar thermal collectors including linear Fresnel reflectors (LFR). For example, using a LFR occupying 1,000m of land and providing steam at 200°C and 15.5 bar, DesaLink is predicted to provide 350m of fresh water per day at a recovery ratio of 0.7, when fed with brackish groundwater containing 5,000ppm of sodium chloride. Here, we report preliminary experiments to assess the feasibility of the concept. We study the effects of longitudinal dispersion, concentration polarisation and describe a pilot experiment to demonstrate the batch process using a materials testing machine. In addition, we demonstrate a prototype of DesaLink running from compressed air to simulate steam.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1279-1289
Number of pages11
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Issue number4-6
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 10 Aug 2012


  • reverse osmosis
  • solar
  • Brackish water
  • groundwater
  • batch mode
  • DesaLink


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