21st September 2023 1:00 pm

This lecture will present a novel AI/machine learning based tool helping to optimise chemical injection to reduce marine pollution and improve the performance of desalination processes.

Global water demand continues to grow at a CAGR rate of 7-8% whilst sources of freshwater are becoming more scare due to over-withdrawal of ground water in many water-stressed regions. Easy access to clean drinking water is a worldwide challenge affecting 1 in 3 people globally (UNICEF 2019). Conventional water sources such as aquifers, rivers, lakes, snowmelts, and rainfall are not sufficient to meet the minimum water requirements per capita in water stressed countries.

Seawater desalination processes have existed for centuries becoming more sophisticated throughout that time. Per the IDA Yearbook 2020-2021 report, over 18,000 desalination plants in 150 countries are producing 100 million cubic meters (mcm) of water per day to supply 300 million people. In terms of installed capacity, 48% is installed in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, followed by the USA 23.1%, East Asia and Pacific 18.4%, China 7.5%.

In addition to energy intensive operation, conventional desalination processes have enormous impact on marine life and the environment due to the volumes of brine rejection and CO2 emissions. It is estimated that brine rejection will increase to 240 km3 and emission will be approximately 400 million tons of carbon equivalents per year by 2050.

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