IDA launches Energy Task Force in Marseille

The International Desalination Association (IDA) has formed a global Energy Task Force whose goal is to achieve a 20% reduction in energy consumption in all major seawater desalination processes by 2015.

The announcement was made on 10 April 2012 at the 6th World Water Forum held in Marseille, France. IDA presented the Task Force's goals and commitment to an overflow audience at its session entitled Desalination: The Sustainable Solution and Hope for Future Generations.

"The reception for this program was beyond our expectations, with a standing-room- only audience and participation by many young people interested in strategies to enhance energy efficiency. All of this resulted in a very exciting dialog between the audience and panelists," said Leon Awerbuch, chairman of IDA's Energy Task Force Steering Committee.

The IDA Energy Task Force will create a framework to encourage and promote strategies to further enhance energy efficiency in desalination processes, both thermal and membrane. It will be structured to include a network of experts from around the world to share best practices for energy efficiency in desalination. These professionals will represent utilities (end-users), desalination companies including suppliers, consultants, research & development institutions, academia, and IDA's Technical Programs Committee.

Initial work by the Task Force includes establishing existing energy requirements for desalination processes and outlining specific targets for each process - thermal, membrane and hybrid. The Task Force will look to the desalination industry to develop pilot and demonstration plants meeting the stated targets.

The Task Force will support and build on existing initiatives by developing guidelines for reduction of energy in desalination processes. In addition, it will investigate further development and deployment of hybrid processes as well as the further use of alternative energy sources in desalination.

IDA plans to organize a conference, which will be convened jointly by its Energy and Environmental task forces to discuss opportunities for enhancing energy efficiency in desalination.

"Many desalination utilities and companies are already committed to significant reduction in energy. In fact, over the past two decades, energy requirements for desalination have been reduced by more than 50% and many new plants have been or are being designed to utilize renewable energy resources, with a long-term goal of significantly reducing or eliminating the use of fossil fuels," said Awerbuch.

"The ultimate objective is to encourage the industry to implement these solutions in all desalination projects, using the best available technologies applicable to the location of the plants. It is the aim of the Task Force that the technology and the pilot and demonstration work will be adopted by water and power utilities and Independent Water Projects and Independent Water and Power Projects around the world," he continued.

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