Desalination has become a significant alternative water source due to the growing water demand and inadequate conventional water sources in many regions. With the available mature membrane and thermal technologies in hybrid desalination plants, there seems not to be much room for improvements in energy consumption and desalination costs. Thus, we believe other drivers for innovation can be: (1) decreasing the environmental impact by avoiding chemicals additions and effects of brine discharge, (2) creating valuable water streams or mining of the valuable compounds from brines, while avoiding excess amounts of invaluable compounds, and (3) increasing the added value of already used desalted water for a second use in agriculture or aquifer recharge.
In this project, we will advance on chemical-free electrodialysis (ED) configurations in hybrid desalination schemes for high water-recovery and salts reuse. The created desalination scheme splits the saline source water into demineralized product water and multiple concentrated waste streams, with the desired specifications for eventual post-processing and recycling. We aim to achieve these goals without adding (high amounts of) salts or other chemicals, to avoid unnecessary ion accumulation in brines onsite or in the product water. The expect product of this project enables to achieve desalination by manipulating ionic compositions with the feed water and electrical energy as the sole inputs.