Offshore desalination simplifies permitting – WateReuse

Mobile vessel and platform-based offshore desalination systems could mitigate impacts related to source water supply and concentration management, thereby simplifying the permitting process, according to a new report from the WateReuse Association.

Feasibility Study of Offshore Desalination Plants (06-010B-1, 2012) summarizes the state and direction of the offshore desalination industry through a comprehensive review of relevant literature and presents the results of a technical and economic feasibility analysis of competitive offshore treatment concepts.

The report concludes that desalination is likely to become an indispensible component of global and national water management portfolios as populations increase and access to reliable water sources decreases. Desalination technologies have improved and matured in recent years and can reliably provide high-quality water, but operational, economic and environmental drawbacks persist.

Research and proposals to move desalination facilities offshore have gained momentum in an effort to address some of these challenges. Mobile vessel and platform-based systems are at various stages of development.

As well as simplifying permitting, moving desalination facilities offshore also provides the added benefit of preserving shoreline land resources for other purposes and minimizing aesthetic impacts.

Providing energy to an offshore facility increases the complexity of this challenge, says the report. Besides traditionsal sources, renewable energy sources such as wind, solar and wave power, among others, are also candidate power supplies, especially given the abundance of these resources in an offshore environment.