Solar Desalination In The United Arab Emirates Environmental Sciences Essay

In response to the “ Call for Proposals ” from Heriot-Watt University, this undertaking proposal has been submitted for their support consideration.

Greenhouse gases, which are atmospheric gases that exist to maintain the Earth warm and prevent heater air from go forthing it, are enhanced by industrial procedures. As human activity such as the combustion of fossil fuels and deforestation additions, nursery gases such as Carbon Dioxide ( CO2 ) are released into the air. Normally, when heat enters the ambiance, it is through short-wave radiation ; a type of radiation that passes swimmingly through the Earth ‘s ambiance. As this radiation heats the Earth ‘s surface, it escapes the Earth in the signifier of long-wave radiation ; a type of radiation that is much more hard to go through through the ambiance. Greenhouse gases released into the ambiance cause this long-wave radiation to increase. Thus, heat is trapped inside of our planet and creates a general heating consequence. And the most distressing thing is that the C emanations have drastically increased over the old ages, as shown in figure [ 1 ] . [ 1 ]

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Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: // 1 – Showing the drastic addition of C emanations over clip

Research workers from around the universe are working hard to a ) develop low CO2 and other GHG emanations engineerings for power coevals and transit ; B ) explore new beginning of energy every bit good as sweetening of geographic expedition potency for bing renewable and non-renewable energy beginnings ; and c ) usage of energy efficient engineering to minimise energy ingestion degree and waste.

With the emerging renewable energy engineerings and the formation of distributed power systems, it is going executable to intermix the energy engineerings, electrical power systems, economic development and CO2 emission degree of the regional economic system together such that relationship between the energy, economic and environment can be determined for efficient power system operations and CO2 emanation control and ordinances.


Fresh water beginnings in the Middle East and North Africa ( MENA ) part are persistently overused. This is partly due to a instead low efficiency of H2O distribution and usage, which in many instances does non make present province of the art. Another major driving force is the uninterrupted growing of population and economic system here in the United Arab Emirates ( UAE ) , which requires more H2O for more people and for new cultural, economic and industrial activities. Figure [ 2 ] displays the jutting fresh water demand in the MENA part.

Figure 2 – Exposing the increasing tendency of freshwater demand compared to population [ 2 ]

As seen in figure [ 2 ] , the UAE is one of the top most demanding states in the part for fresh water. Research reveals that in the hereafter, there will be a shortage of fresh water supply compared to the freshwater demand. A scenario like this can be lay waste toing. In order to command the of all time turning demand for fresh water, desalinization workss have been set-up in the UAE to supply fresh H2O. Desalination refers to any of several procedures that remove extra salt and other minerals from H2O. Water is desalinated in order to be converted to fresh H2O suited for human ingestion or irrigation. The UAE relies to a great extent on desalinated H2O as the handiness of fresh water is limited.

Large-scale desalinization typically uses big sums of energy every bit good as specialized, expensive substructure, doing it really dearly-won compared to the usage of fresh water from rivers or groundwater. The big energy militias of many Middle Eastern states, along with their comparative H2O scarceness, have led to extended building of desalinization in this part. By mid-2007, Middle Eastern desalinization accounted for stopping point to 75 % of entire universe capacity. The universe ‘s largest desalinization works is the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant ( Phase 2 ) located in the UAE. It is a dual-purpose installation that uses multi-stage brassy distillment and is capable of bring forthing 300 million three-dimensional metres of H2O per twelvemonth.

Multi-Stage Flash Distillation

Rearward osmosis workss are the most common type, but multi-stage brassy distillment workss produce over 85 per centum of all desalinated H2O in the universe with around 75 % in the Middle East.

In multi-stage flash distillment, the saltwater is foremost heated in a container known as a seawater warmer. This is normally achieved by distilling steam on a bank of tubes transporting sea H2O through the seawater warmer. Heated H2O is passed to another container known as a “ phase ” , where the surrounding force per unit area is lower than that in the seawater warmer. It is the sudden debut of this H2O into a lower force per unit area “ phase ” that causes it to boil so quickly as to blink into steam. As a regulation, merely a little per centum of this H2O is converted into steam. Consequently, it is usually the instance that the staying H2O will be sent through a series of extra phases, each possessing a lower ambient force per unit area than the old “ phase. ” As steam is generated, it is condensed on tubings of heat money changers that run through each phase. [ 3 ]

Solar Desalination

What is Solar Energy?

Solar energy is the energy that is produced by the Sun. During the merger procedure that the Sun undergoes during its life-time, it emits radiation. The merger procedure produces many different wavelengths of radiation and sub-atomic atoms.

“ In full Sun, it can safely be assumed that there is about 100 Wattss of solar energy per square pes. 12 hours of sun per twenty-four hours and this equates to 438,000 watt-hours per square pes per twelvemonth. Based on 27,878,400 square pess per square stat mi, sunlight bestows a humongous 12.2 trillion watt-hours per square stat mi per twelvemonth.

With these premises, calculating out how much solar energy hits the full planet is comparatively simple. 12.2 trillion watt-hours converts to 12,211 gigawatt-hours, and based on 8,760 hours per twelvemonth, and 197 million square stat mis of Earth ‘s surface ( including the oceans ) , the Earth receives about 274 million gigawatt-years of solar energy, which translates to an amazing 8.2 million “ quads ” of Btu energy per twelvemonth.

A “ quad Btu ” refers to one quadrillion British Thermal Units of energy, a common term used by energy economic experts. The full human race presently uses about 400 quads of energy ( in all signifiers ) per twelvemonth. Put another manner, the solar energy hitting the Earth exceeds the entire energy consumed by humanity by a factor of over 20,000 times.

Clearly there is adequate solar energy available to carry through all the human race ‘s energy demands now, and for all practical intents, everlastingly. The key is developing engineerings that expeditiously convert solar power into useable energy in a cost-efficient mode. ” [ 6 ]

Roll uping and change overing useable energy from solar radiation can be accomplished by utilizing many different signifiers of engineering and includes assorted direct and indirect methods of tackling the solar energy.

As mentioned antecedently, big graduated table desalinization requires alot of energy, which presently is being generated via the combustion of fossil fuels. As the consequence, the sum of C emanations are highly high. In order to cut down the C footmark of the desalinization works, the thought proposed here is the installing of solar panels in desalinization workss which will capture beaming visible radiation and heat from the Sun and hence aid bring forth energy for the desalinization procedure.

Proposed Idea

Since the UAE receives a high sum of beaming visible radiation and heat from the Sun, the installing of solar panels is an highly feasible option, as seen in figure [ 3 ] . Figure [ 3 ] shows the per centum of Sun visible radiation and heat received in the universe. It can clearly be observed that the MENA part has good potency usage for solar energy.

Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: // 2 – Exposing the sum of solar energy potency in the universe

Concentrating aggregators will heat the H2O in the seawater warmer which will drastically lower C emanations as solar energy will be used alternatively of firing conventional fossil fuels. Concentrating aggregators will be employed as they offer much better warming compared to traditional solar panels. Figure [ 3 ] shows a typical concentrating solar aggregator that could be installed for this desired proposal. The concentrating aggregators can be aligned in parallel rows and such an agreement is called a “ aggregator field ” . These solar aggregators use mirrored parabolic troughs to concentrate the Sun ‘s energy to a fluid-carrying receiving system tubing located at the focal point of a parabolically curved trough reflector. The energy from the Sun sent to the tubing heats the fluid fluxing through the tubing, and the heat energy can so be utilized. The aggregators in the field are all aligned along a north-south axis so they can track the Sun from E to west during the twenty-four hours, guaranting that the Sun is continuously focused on the receiving system pipes.

Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: // 3 – Exposing a typical concentrating solar aggregator ( line )

The proposed thought for the desalinization procedure is based on the vaporization of salt H2O and the subsequent condensation of the generated steam. The steam is wholly clear and does non transport any dissolvers. After condensation, clear, healthy and sweet fresh H2O is obtained. Sea H2O is heated by the Sun utilizing concentrating aggregators. It enters an vaporization chamber produced from corrosion free stuffs ; really of import for dependable long term operation. Here the saltwater evaporates from efficient antibacterial fleece surfaces. The produced steam is transported to the capacitor in a 2nd measure ; wholly without any extra energy demand. Like in nature, natural convection enables the best public presentation in the H2O production procedure – optimized by the well engineered geometric collocation of surfaces within the faculty. During condensation, the chief portion of the energy used for vaporization is regained using stuffs with highly low heat flux opposition [ 5 ] . This procedure is illustrated in figure [ 4 ] .

Figure 4 – Exemplifying the desalinization procedure utilizing solar energy [ 5 ]

Energy Savingss

Since the Jebel Ali Desalination Plant is used as mention for this proposal, the energy nest eggs will be harmonizing to that. Before the energy nest eggs can be calculated, the invariables for saltwater computations are noted.

Seawater Properties


Unit of measurements




Specific Heat Capacity


kJ/Kg K

Change in Temperature


Table 1 – Properties of saltwater ; changeless during computations

The end product of the desalinization works is 300 million three-dimensional metres per twelvemonth. The heat energy required is calculated utilizing the equation Q=m*c*a?†T. Where Q is the heat energy required ( J ) , m is the mass ( kilogram ) , degree Celsius is specific heat capacity ( kJ/kg K ) and a?†T is the alteration in temperature. The corresponding mass, heat energy and metric tons of oil equivalent ( TOE ) are tabulated in table [ 2 ] :

Volume ( million three-dimensional metres )

Mass ( Kg )

Heat Energy ( J )

Metric tons of Oil Equivalent ( TOE )

300 / twelvemonth




23 / month




0.83 / twenty-four hours




Table 2 – Datas demoing the sum of energy needed per twelvemonth, month and twenty-four hours

This therefore shows that approximately, the sum of energy saved per twelvemonth, month and twenty-four hours is 2,011,088, 167,670 and 5,589 TOE severally. This is an highly big sum of energy that is needed to run the desalinization works utilizing fossil fuels, and replacing them with solar energy can drastically cut down C emanations.

The Research Project Team

This research undertaking is interdisciplinary which involves research expertness on energy engineering, electrical power technology, economic sciences and environmental technology. The Undertaking Leader is Wasil Abdul Qayyum. The squad members are drawn from the Engineering and Physical Sciences ( EPS ) section of Heriot-Watt University. The undertaking is to be funded by The Carbon Trust. [ 7 ]

“ The Carbon Trust is a cardinal portion of the UK clime alteration programme and will assist concern play its portion. It promotes research and development, and do available up to ?200m over the following 2 old ages to assist concerns put in low C engineerings. It will be funded by the returns of the clime alteration levy bundle – one of the steps that Government has introduced in response to its Kyoto committedness. The money is provided by industry via a revenue enhancement on its usage of dodo fuel and is traveling back to industry to supply advice and aid for concerns, peculiarly little and moderate-sized endeavors, for the development of low-carbon engineerings and for renewable energy. ” [ 7 ]

“ Heriot-Watt University is a dynamic university at the head of the cognition economic system. Heriot-Watt purposes to present first advanced research in the Fieldss of concern and industry and has the repute for advanced instruction, endeavor and taking border research, educating the engineers, professionals and minds of tomorrow. Technology & A ; Research Services ( TRS ) is the research development and commercialisation section for the Heriot-Watt. TRS develops collaborative links between industry and academe, through collaborative research and engineering licensing, to present preparation and consultancy services. “ [ 7 ]

Project Leader:

Mr. Wasil Abdul Qayyum – Mr. Qayyum is the main research worker of the undertaking and has been working on research and development in alternate resource systems and is responsible for research on concentrating solar systems. Mr. Qayyum is presently working towards a Bachelor of technology ( BEng ) grade in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.

Team Members:

Mr. Saeed Wazed – Mr. Wazed is a fellow research worker at Heriot Watt University. His research involvement is on alternate resource systems and is responsible for resource direction. Mr. Wazed is presently working towards a Bachelor of technology grade in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.

Mr. Mohammed Asif Aboobaker – Mr. Aboobaker is a fellow research worker at Heriot Watt University. His research involvement is on alternate resource systems and is responsible for the working of solar units. Mr. Aboobaker is presently working towards a Bachelor of technology grade in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.

Mr. Hassam Nasarullah – Mr. Nasarullah is a fellow research worker at Heriot Watt University and his country of expertness is in finding the economic assessment for the undertaking. Mr. Nasarullah is presently working towards a Bachelor of technology grade in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.

Mr. Muhammad Hasan Shariq – Mr. Shariq is a fellow research worker at Heriot Watt University. His research involvement is electrical and is responsible for electricity and electrical equipments for alternate resource systems. Mr. Shariq is presently working towards a Bachelor of technology grade in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.

Undertaking Secretary:

Ms. Cherisa Ng Ping Sze – Ms. Ping Sze is responsible for day-to-day disposal and coordination of undertaking activities. Ms. Ping Sze is presently working towards a Bachelor of technology grade in Mechanical Engineering from Heriot-Watt University.

Funding for Research

Before the benefits of such a undertaking are reaped, the undertaking research must be carried out to find the feasibleness of the undertaking. Heriot Watt University has provided this undertaking proposal with ?100,000 for research intents. The research is estimated to be carried out for 10 months and therefore the support is as follows:

Salary for Staff – 6 members

Monthly ( ? )

Annually ( ? )




All 5 members


48 000

Sub-contract ( reimbursement to Heriot-Watt University )

Bloor West ?900/month

?9 000

S. Yorkville ?900/month

?9 000

Overhead for office support

?5 000

Sub-total = ?23 000


Value ( ? )

Operating expenses

Office Support etc.




Capital Equipment

Computers etc,


Travel and subsistence costs

Meetings etc.


Other Costss

Eventuality costs etc.


Sub-total ?26 000

Grand entire = ? 97,000

The expansive sum of ?97,000 falls merely under the allotted ?100,000 and hence the undertaking research can get down without any farther hold.

SWOT Analysis

The pros and cons of this peculiar undertaking proposal to bring forth energy for desalinization via solar panels in the UAE are described below:


Since the UAE receives a truly high sum of sunshine, it makes utilizing solar panels the most feasible option compared to other renewable resources such as air current, tidal etc. Solar energy is renewable and does non bring forth nursery gases such as CO2.

Although the initial cost may be high, solar panels are non really expensive to keep as energy from the Sun is widely available and free and besides do n’t necessitate delving for major back uping trenches. Besides, solar panels do n’t necessitate much wiring.

Oil, on the other manus, is non renewable. It takes 1000000s of old ages to organize and presently, oil militias are being depleted at a rate much quicker than more would take to develop. Using solar energy will let the UAE to maintain their oil militias intact.

It ‘s non affected by the supply and demand of fuel and is hence non subjected to the ever-increasing monetary value of gasolene.

And in conclusion, solar panels do n’t make any noise pollution as they are soundless, since they do n’t incorporate any moving parts.


An obvious disadvantage of utilizing solar energy is that it can non be produced during the dark and on cloudy and showery yearss. However, current engineering makes it far easier to hive away heat compared to electricity giving concentrating solar power a monolithic border.

Initial cost of the installing of solar panels is high. Even a big operational country is required to better efficiency.

Regular care will be required to guarantee that the solar panels are unbroken clean. Dirty solar panels can drastically cut down efficiency.


Installation of a big graduated table works will make many occupation chances for the people.

Research and development of such a theoretical account for the desalinization sector would besides animate the green development for other sectors, such as transit sector. This can drastically take down the C footmark of the UAE, which is one of the highest per capita in the universe. [ 4 ]

Introduction of discovery engineering ( e.g organic cells ) and increased demand could significantly cut down the concentrating aggregator unit costs and hence see their employment in more edifices and substructure. [ 4 ]


Insufficient fiscal support by the UAE authorities could potentially endanger this undertaking proposal as the initial cost for the proposed apparatus is rather steep.

Frequent dust storms in the part can be black to the operation of the solar desalinization works as dust signifiers on the concentrating aggregators ‘ surface and therefore the efficiency will be awful in such conditions.

Future of the Undertaking

As stated earlier, with the of all time increasing population, the demand for fresh water is increasing every bit good. Although this undertaking proposal can most likely fulfill the current demands for fresh water, it will non be able to get by with future demand hikings and returning back to fossil fuels to command demand will convey C emanations back to square one.

In order to avoid such a scenario, more concentrating solar aggregators will necessitate to be installed to be capable of bring forthing even more heat for the desalinization procedure. However more infinite ( or instead land ) will needed for installing of more solar aggregators, but this shall non present much of a job as around merely 30 % of UAE ‘s land is being presently utilized go forthing ample of infinite for enlargement in the hereafter.

On the contrary, if there is an surplus of fresh water supply being produced by this system intending demand has fallen, the fresh water can besides be utilized for power coevals in any nearby steam power workss.


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