- With one-third of the world’s population living under water-stressed conditions there is a clear demand for sustainable production of drinking water. Seawater desalination may boost reserves in water stressed regions. However, the process is typically energy intensive and the environmental impacts of large-scale systems are unknown.
- Ongoing research is searching for low energy desalination options such as osmosis, which uses selective membranes to separate salt and impurities from water. With 30 years of technological advancement the aim is now to improve sustainability. From an economic perspective the desalination market is booming, expected to grow by 320% by 2020 to $52.4 billion.
Urbanisation and agricultural intensification will continue to stress water quality in the UK. Desalination technologies may prove a useful compliment to current water treatment under conditions of drought or high pollution.