Minimizing the Environmental Impact of Sea Brine Disposal by Coupling Desalination Plants with Solar Saltworks: A Case Study for Greece


"The explosive increase in world population, along with the fast socio-economic development, have led to an increased water demand, making water shortage one of the greatest problems of modern society. Countries such as Greece, Saudi Arabia and Tunisia face serious water shortage issues and have resorted to solutions such as transporting water by ships from the mainland to islands, a practice that is expensive, energy-intensive and unsustainable. Desalination of sea-water is suitable for supplying arid regions with potable water, but extensive brine discharge may affect marine biota. To avoid this impact, we explore the option of directing the desalination effluent to a solar saltworks for brine concentration and salt production, in order to achieve a zero discharge desalination plant. In this context, we conducted a survey in order to evaluate the potential of transferring desalination brine to solar saltworks, so that its disposal to the sea is avoided. Our analysis showed that brine transfer by trucks is prohibitively expensive. In order to make the zero discharge desalination plant economically feasible, efforts should be directed into developing a more efficient technology that will result in the production of only a fraction of the brine that is produced from our systems today."



sustainability, salinization, plants, GIS