The global challenge for water supply: is seawater desalination a sustainable solution?
Prof. Menachem Elimelech
Roberto Goizueta Professor of the Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, Yale University, and Director of the Environmental Program
An AEESP Distinguished Lecture and part of the ENCS Distinguished Speaker Series
Water scarcity is one of the greatest global crises that we currently face. In recent years, numerous large-scale seawater desalination plants have been built in water-scarce countries to augment available water resources and construction of new desalination plants is expected to increase significantly in the near future. Despite the major advancements in reverse osmosis desalination technology, the production of freshwater by seawater desalination is still more energy-intensive than conventional technologies for the treatment of freshwater sources. Furthermore, there are concerns about the environmental impacts of desalination and uncertainty about the potential effects on the marine environment.
This presentation will review the energy efficiency, the state of the technology and the environmental challenges of seawater desalination. A discussion will be presented on the possible reductions in energy demand by state-of-the art seawater desalination technologies; the potential role of advanced materials and innovative technologies in improving energy use, reliability, and environmental impact of seawater desalination; and the sustainability of desalination as a technological solution to global water shortages.
Saifur Rahaman (Assistant Professor, Department of Building, Civil & Environmental Engineering (BCEE), Concordia University)
Subhasis Ghoshal, Associate Professor, Department of Civil Engineering, McGill University & Director of the Trottier Institute for Sustainability in Engineering and Design (TISED), McGill University
Nathalie Tufenjki, Associate Professor, Department of Chemical Engineering, McGill University & Associate Director, Brace Centre for Water Resources Management, McGill University