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Low Energy Desalination

What is Desalination?

The following summarizes the major points regarding desalination:

• Desalination is a method of separating dissolved minerals and impurities from seawater or other salty water to provide clean drinking water.

• The most commonly used desalination process is reverse osmosis which is a process in which salts and impurities are removed by passing saline water through a membrane under high pressure.

• Other processes of desalination include thermal distillation and electrodialysis. Thermal distillation involves boiling saline water and collecting the purified vapor. In general, thermal distillation is used where raw energy is cheap (such as in the Middle East). Electrodialysis removes salts by separating and collecting their chemical components through electrolysis and is more suited to brackish water (such as salty groundwater) than seawater desalination.

• A major benefit of desalination is that it can continue to deliver drinking water for consumption even if there is no rain. It also provides an alternative source of supply to make an overall supply more robust and less vulnerable to interruption.

The Brillyant research team has developed a new Low Energy Desalination Technology.

It is a unique 3-stage process where ambient energy is efficiently utilized to yield pure water while eliminating the need to introduce a brine effluent into the environment. The modular nature of the technology allows the capacity (mgd) to be increased as required.

The basic process occurs in Three Stages as follows:

Stage 1: Microdrop Emission - This is a new technology for the production of small droplets of seawater with high surface area to volume ratio and high evaporation rates at ambient temperatures. These microdrop emitters are not nozzles and therefore do not require that seawater be forced through the apparatus at high pressures. Air and liquid flow rates are such that all of the liquid is converted into appropriately sized microdrops.

Stage 2: Evaporation - The seawater microdrops are engaged with flowing air and the water evaporates. This process leaves particles of predominantly inorganic material (mostly sodium chloride with some calcium and magnesium salts) which fall down away from the evaporation zone, thereby effecting the separation of pure water from the salts.

Stage 3: Condensation - The humid air is moved into a zone where droplets of pure water are formed which coalesce into flowing streams and are collected for distribution.

Brillyant Low Energy Desalination Prototypes are being studied to maximize efficiency and throughput.


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