Timeline established for IDA desalination energy guide

The International Desalination Association (IDA) has established a timeline for producing its guidelines for reducing energy consumption in desalination ending at its 2015 World Congress.

IDA convened the first meeting of its global Energy Task force on 15 January 2013 at the International Water Summit (IWS) in Abu Dhabi. The meeting aimed to create a framework for the establishment of guidelines to meet its goal of achieving a 20% reduction in energy consumption in all major seawater desalination processes by 2015.

The discussions covered numerous topics involved in establishing a strategic framework, including:

· Benchmarks for current energy requirements for desalination from which the Task Force will target the 20% energy reduction.
· The preliminary method for reporting energy consumption for membrane and thermal processes.
· The impact of seawater temperature, recovery and seawater salinity on energy consumption for membrane processes, and of steam condition and other parameters of feedwater and recovery on thermal processes.
· Utilization of new technologies to upgrade the capacity and efficiency of existing desalination plants.
· Exploring the role of renewable and waste energy in accounting for the efficiency of desalination processes.

“The Energy Task Force meeting was extremely productive and was well attended by both task force members and many well-informed observers who were participating in the International Water Summit,” said Leon Awerbuch, co-chair of the IDA Energy Task Force Committee and moderator of the Task Force meeting. “Everyone was highly engaged in the discussions, which were intense and very valuable in charting the course forward.”

“Further increasing energy efficiency is an important objective for the desalination industry, which has achieved a more than 50% reduction in energy consumption over the past two decades,” he added.

It was decided to separate the energy requirements for process from pretreatment aspects and seawater intakes, keeping in mind that all the components impact the cost of desalinated water.

“The group discussed many examples and explored suggested directions in energy improvements. We also established preliminary agreement on the theoretical minimum energy requirements of desalination, so we can gauge our goal,” said Awerbuch.

As a result of the meeting, the Energy Task Force will be divided into four subgroups, each of which is charged with closely examining current and prospective solutions in specific aspects of desalination. Assignment of Task Force members to each subgroup will be completed by the end of January 2013. The subgroups are:

· Membrane processes – existing and innovating solutions
· Thermal and hybrid desalination – existing and innovating solutions
· Forecast for innovating solutions including renewables
· Awareness and implementation.

In addition, the Task Force also proposed a commitment and partnership with different representative groups, including construction companies; desalination equipment suppliers; governments, local authorities and public utilities boards; and private users, academia and research centers.

The Task Force also established the following timeline for development of its guidelines for reducing energy consumption:

· By August 2013, the Task Force will confirm and justify its targets.
· The next formal meeting of the Energy Task Force will be held during the 2013 IDA World Congress, which takes place 20‑25 October 2013 in Tianjin, China.
· In the second half of 2014, IDA will organize a follow-up conference on Energy in Desalination that will also include participation by its Environmental Task Force.
· At the 2015 IDA World Congress (location to be determined), the Task Force will present the recommended guidelines to achieve the 20% energy reduction goal.

The Task Force is composed of a network of experts from around the world, representing utilities (end-users), suppliers, consultants, research and development institutions and academia, as well as IDA’s Technical Programs Committee. It will be expanded to include new members who can help with carbon footprint analysis and renewable technologies in desalination.