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Global installed desalination capacity, 2010–2016. Adapted from [11]. 

Global installed desalination capacity, 2010–2016. Adapted from [11]. 

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Beyond doubt, desalination is growing rapidly worldwide. However, there are still obstacles to its wider implementation and acceptance such as: (a) high costs and energy use for fresh water production; (b) environmental impacts from concentrate disposal; (c) a complex, convoluted and time-consuming project permitting process; and (d) limited public...

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... since desalination was originally invented in antiquity, different technologies have been developed. Back in the 4th century BC, Aristotle, the Hellenic philosopher, described a desalination technique by which non-potable water evaporated and finally condensed into potable liquid. Likewise, Alexander of Aphrodisias in the 200 AD described a technique used by sailors, as follows: seawater was boiled to produce steam, and that steam was then absorbed by sponges, thereby resulting in potable water [1]. Since then, the technology of seawater desalination for the production of potable water evolved rapidly and has become quite popular [2]. The most reliable desalination processes that can currently be exploited at the commercial scale can be divided in two main categories: (a) thermal (or distillation) processes like multi-stage flash distillation (MSF), multi-effect distillation (MED), thermal vapor compression (TVC), and mechanical vapor compression (MVC) processes; and (b) membrane processes: reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis (ED) processes. ED is mostly used for brackish water installations, while RO can be used for both, brackish and seawater [3]. Over the last few years, a large number of desalination plants began to operate globally. Moreover, the production cost of desalinated water has been considerably decreased and is expected to decrease even further [4,5]. This is mostly due to the recent improvements in membrane technology, but also due to the increase of the energy conversion coefficiency for desalination processes [6]. In this paper, a short review of water desalination is provided before cost data are examined and processed. This paper focuses on water desalination processes and projects in Greece. Desalination is growing so fast globally that it is more than certain that it will play a significant role in water supply in the years to come. Desalination is growing particularly in parts of the world where water availability is low. Annual desalination capacity seems to increase rapidly as years go by. A sharp increase in the number of desalination projects to supply water is indicated. This rose from 326 m 3 /d in 1945 to over 5,000,000 m 3 /d in 1980 and to more than 35,000,000 m 3 /d in 2004 [7]. In 2008, the total daily capacity was 52,333,950 m 3 /d, from some 14,000 plants in operation globally [8]. In 2011, the total capacity was about 67,000,000 m 3 /d, while in 2012 it was estimated at about 79,000,000 m 3 /d from some 16,000 plants worldwide [9]. The Gulf Region (Middle East) has the biggest number of desalination plants in the world, followed by the Mediterranean, the Americas, and Asia [10]. The percentages of desalination plants for each geographical area are shown in Figure 1. The global capacity of desalination plants, including renewable desalination, is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 9% between 2010 and 2016. The market is set to grow in both developed and emerging countries such as the United States, China, Saudi Arabia (SA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as shown in Figure 2. A very significant potential also exists in rural and remote areas, as well as in islands (Figure 2, rest of world (ROW)), where grid electricity or fossil fuels to generate energy may not be available at affordable costs. About 54% of the global growth is expected to ...
Context 2
... since desalination was originally invented in antiquity, different technologies have been developed. Back in the 4th century BC, Aristotle, the Hellenic philosopher, described a desalination technique by which non-potable water evaporated and finally condensed into potable liquid. Likewise, Alexander of Aphrodisias in the 200 AD described a technique used by sailors, as follows: seawater was boiled to produce steam, and that steam was then absorbed by sponges, thereby resulting in potable water [1]. Since then, the technology of seawater desalination for the production of potable water evolved rapidly and has become quite popular [2]. The most reliable desalination processes that can currently be exploited at the commercial scale can be divided in two main categories: (a) thermal (or distillation) processes like multi-stage flash distillation (MSF), multi-effect distillation (MED), thermal vapor compression (TVC), and mechanical vapor compression (MVC) processes; and (b) membrane processes: reverse osmosis (RO) and electrodialysis (ED) processes. ED is mostly used for brackish water installations, while RO can be used for both, brackish and seawater [3]. Over the last few years, a large number of desalination plants began to operate globally. Moreover, the production cost of desalinated water has been considerably decreased and is expected to decrease even further [4,5]. This is mostly due to the recent improvements in membrane technology, but also due to the increase of the energy conversion coefficiency for desalination processes [6]. In this paper, a short review of water desalination is provided before cost data are examined and processed. This paper focuses on water desalination processes and projects in Greece. Desalination is growing so fast globally that it is more than certain that it will play a significant role in water supply in the years to come. Desalination is growing particularly in parts of the world where water availability is low. Annual desalination capacity seems to increase rapidly as years go by. A sharp increase in the number of desalination projects to supply water is indicated. This rose from 326 m 3 /d in 1945 to over 5,000,000 m 3 /d in 1980 and to more than 35,000,000 m 3 /d in 2004 [7]. In 2008, the total daily capacity was 52,333,950 m 3 /d, from some 14,000 plants in operation globally [8]. In 2011, the total capacity was about 67,000,000 m 3 /d, while in 2012 it was estimated at about 79,000,000 m 3 /d from some 16,000 plants worldwide [9]. The Gulf Region (Middle East) has the biggest number of desalination plants in the world, followed by the Mediterranean, the Americas, and Asia [10]. The percentages of desalination plants for each geographical area are shown in Figure 1. The global capacity of desalination plants, including renewable desalination, is expected to grow at an annual rate of more than 9% between 2010 and 2016. The market is set to grow in both developed and emerging countries such as the United States, China, Saudi Arabia (SA) and the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as shown in Figure 2. A very significant potential also exists in rural and remote areas, as well as in islands (Figure 2, rest of world (ROW)), where grid electricity or fossil fuels to generate energy may not be available at affordable costs. About 54% of the global growth is expected to ...

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... More than 160 desalination plants operate in Greece with a total production of more than 150,000 m 3 /day [55]. In terms of supply water, 56% is seawater, while 41% is brackish water. ...
... In terms of supply water, 56% is seawater, while 41% is brackish water. As far as the use of the produced desalinated water in Greece is concerned, 48% is the supply of municipalities, 31% covers industrial needs, 16% covers tourist requirements, with the remaining 5% covers the needs of energy production plants and also the needs of the Greek military [55]. Reverse osmosis is the most popular desalination process in Greece, as 75% of the desalinated water is produced by reverse osmosis desalination units [52]. ...
... The cost of desalinated water in Greece is in the range of 0.5-3.5 EUR/m 3 with most cases presenting a cost of above 1.2 EUR/m 3 [55]. This is higher when comparing it with large desalination plants, which usually present costs below 1 EUR/m 3 . ...
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... The cost for the heat demand of the MED plant is zero in this case, since it only uses waste heat from the SOFC unit. The coupling of MED with the flue gas derived from the gas turbine is therefore advisable [30]. ...
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... In this perspective, desalination plants offer an economically viable solution for the production of drinking water. Starting from 326 m 3 /day produced worldwide in 1945, the use of this technology based on membrane systems has increased exponentially to over 80 million m 3 /day in 2013 [2,3] and even more today. Moreover, thanks to their versatility, membranes have also found increasing use in other processes related to the food, medical and chemical sectors and more generally in the treatment of wastewater from industrial plants [4][5][6]. ...
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... Desalination removes salts and minerals from seawater to render it drinkable through thermal methods (multi flash distillation, multi effect distillation) or filtration approaches (electrodialysis, reverse osmosis). 4 Today, the leading process for intensive production of freshwater is reverse osmosis (RO), 5 which has become increasingly cost-effective over the past decade. However, RO requires the ready availability of energy (between 17 and 83 kWh per m 3 ), 6 together with large bodies of saline or brackish water, a distribution infrastructure and high upfront capital cost. ...
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