Author Topic: Climate Change Catchment Thread  (Read 59642 times)

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #435 on: March 19, 2019, 05:45:12 pm »
what horrifying aspect of this technology am I missing?

Good question.  My understanding is that the challenge is always cost (energy and financial), sometimes also ecological impact from the high salinity output.  Maybe cost & impact constrains scalability?

Gonna have to take a look for desalination-related conference talks later. 

I'd like to know more about:
  • State of R&D
  • Scalability
  • Cost, especially wrt economies of scale

Back in the 70s the mast plan for California included multiple nuclear reactors along the shore and during the off peak hours they were going to desalinate ocean water and pump it to various reservoirs for drinking water and irrigation.  IIRC, with the state of technology at the time a single reactor dedicated to that task could produce enough water for Los Angeles.

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Offline Soldier of FORTRAN

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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #436 on: March 19, 2019, 05:55:52 pm »
Couple desal items I just came across

Article: Israel Proves the Desalination Era Is Here
From: Scientific American
Date:

Quote
Israel now gets 55 percent of its domestic water from desalination, and that has helped to turn one of the world’s driest countries into the unlikeliest of water giants.

Driven by necessity, Israel is learning to squeeze more out of a drop of water than any country on Earth, and much of that learning is happening at the Zuckerberg Institute, where researchers have pioneered new techniques in drip irrigation, water treatment and desalination. They have developed resilient well systems for African villages and biological digesters than can halve the water usage of most homes.

...

Enter desalination. The Ashkelon plant, in 2005, provided 127 million cubic meters (166 million cubic yards) of water. Hadera, in 2009, put out another 140 million cubic meters (183 million cubic yards). And now Sorek, 150 million cubic meters (196 million cubic yards) [...]

...

Inside Sorek, 50,000 membranes enclosed in vertical white cylinders, each 4 feet high and 16 inches wide, are whirring like jet engines. The whole thing feels like a throbbing spaceship about to blast off. The cylinders contain sheets of plastic membranes wrapped around a central pipe, and the membranes are stippled with pores less than a hundredth the diameter of a human hair. Water shoots into the cylinders at a pressure of 70 atmospheres and is pushed through the membranes, while the remaining brine is returned to the sea.

Desalination used to be an expensive energy hog, but the kind of advanced technologies being employed at Sorek have been a game changer. Water produced by desalination costs just a third of what it did in the 1990s. Sorek can produce a thousand liters of drinking water for 58 cents. Israeli households pay about US$30 a month for their water — similar to households in most U.S. cities, and far less than Las Vegas (US$47) or Los Angeles (US$58).

The International Desalination Association claims that 300 million people get water from desalination, and that number is quickly rising. IDE, the Israeli company that built Ashkelon, Hadera and Sorek, recently finished the Carlsbad desalination plant in Southern California, a close cousin of its Israel plants, and it has many more in the works. Worldwide, the equivalent of six additional Sorek plants are coming online every year. The desalination era is here.

...

Even more ambitious is the US$900 million Red Sea–Dead Sea Canal, a joint venture between Israel and Jordan to build a large desalination plant on the Red Sea, where they share a border, and divide the water among Israelis, Jordanians and the Palestinians. The brine discharge from the plant will be piped 100 miles north through Jordan to replenish the Dead Sea, which has been dropping a meter per year since the two countries began diverting the only river that feeds it in the 1960s. By 2020, these old foes will be drinking from the same tap.

...


Article: Desalination Problems Begin to Rise to the Surface in Israel
From: Haaretz
Date: 2017 FEB 06

Quote
...

[...] the new installations have also brought new problems, such as the accumulative effect of large quantities of salt being dumped back into the sea as a by-product of the desalination process.

...

This year, the country’s fifth desalination plant goes online in Ashdod. Along with the four older plants, some 582 million cubic meters of water will be produced annually – meeting about two-thirds of Israel’s domestic needs. It will not be the last plant, though, with the Israel Water Authority planning to establish another in Western Galilee and another four large facilities along the coast by 2025. Zoning plans for these coastal projects have already been approved.

...

Alongside the advantages, desalination plants have also had a significant impact on the environment and, indirectly, on consumer health.

Although they supply high quality water, it is devoid of some key minerals found in normal water, like magnesium. Magnesium shortages can raise the risk of heart disease, with some experts pointing to a significant shortage of this important mineral in the water.

“Initial results of Israeli studies point to an elevated mortality risk of myocardial infarction in areas where there is wide use of desalinated water,” said public health expert Prof. Yona Amitai, speaking recently at a Bar-Ilan University conference on regulating water supply.

Amitai urged that “more studies be done to examine the possibility of adding magnesium to the water.”

As well as being bad for people, magnesium deficiency can also hurt agricultural products. Researchers at the agricultural administration have already found a significant drop in the supply of this mineral in orchards where desalinated water is used. However, they said the problem can be overcome by adding fertilizer containing magnesium to the water.

...

Neat! 
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #437 on: March 19, 2019, 05:59:24 pm »
Well, one of the problems will be that, while water for most large coastal cities could easily be provided in this way, it would not do much to preserve irrigation in the vast middle of a continent.
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Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #438 on: March 19, 2019, 06:11:14 pm »
Well, one of the problems will be that, while water for most large coastal cities could easily be provided in this way, it would not do much to preserve irrigation in the vast middle of a continent.

That’s not a problem with it, just a limitation. Doesn’t solve everything but would help


If it could be scaled up to irrigate crops in the Central Valley and other areas that could free up California’s share of Colorado River water which would allow for more water for agriculture in the West.


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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #439 on: March 19, 2019, 06:24:36 pm »
It is certainly a problem if it is seen as an alternative to conservation.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #440 on: March 19, 2019, 06:52:23 pm »
It is certainly a problem if it is seen as an alternative to conservation.

OK, but that's a problem with how it's seen, not what it is.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #441 on: March 19, 2019, 07:21:13 pm »
Dude, stop obsessing over one word. You’re annoyingly as fuck.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #442 on: March 19, 2019, 07:43:48 pm »
Dude, stop obsessing over one word. You’re annoyingly as fuck.

OK, dude, let me put it this way. 

You just jumped into a discussion about potential solutions to water shortages caused by growing populations and global warming, with an totally imaginary issue which makes absolutely no sense.

They are continuing to conserve water in Israel and other other areas where desalination is being used. There are desalination plants operating now in Southern California and no one is worried that's going to lead to people not conserving water.

So your only contribution to the discussion is a pointless made up issue that no none is worried about and that is annoying.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #443 on: March 19, 2019, 07:57:59 pm »
Uh, I think you guys are talking past each other

Lat appeared to be responding to this oversight regarding scalability constraints:
Maybe cost & impact constrains scalability?

You appear to be responding to this as an a presumed artifact of 'Black & White' thinking.
« Last Edit: March 19, 2019, 08:18:20 pm by Soldier of FORTRAN »
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #444 on: March 19, 2019, 08:19:13 pm »
Uh, I think you guys are talking past each other

Lat appeared to be responding to this oversight regarding scalability constraints:
Maybe cost & impact constrains scalability?

You appear to be responding to this as an artifact of 'Black & White' thinking.

Even if your generous interpretation of Lat's comment is accurate, it's still a non sequitur.

Basically desert regions (Southern California; Israel (and other parts of the mideast) are investing heavily in desalination, on a scale that would provide water for people and limited agriculture.

To look at these developments and complain is that the problem is people might stop conserving water is frankly absurd. I pointed that out (as I do) and Lat lashed out at me (as he does).

And no, I don't see the non-sequitur Lat raised as an example of black and white thinking.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #445 on: March 20, 2019, 10:06:23 am »
It is certainly a problem if it is seen as an alternative to conservation.

Yeah, I'd say that the main downside to desalination would be becoming reliant on it. If instead of optimizing water usage and being able to rely on local water sources, usage keeps growing and growing, you're going to be much worse off if the infrastructure is damaged (and/or someone decides they need the remote supplies more than you do).

Abundance is great as long as you can keep it abundant, rather than consider it a challenge.
« Last Edit: March 20, 2019, 10:10:45 am by 2397 »

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Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #446 on: March 20, 2019, 10:52:08 am »
Yeah, I'd say that the main downside to desalination would be becoming reliant on it.

How would that be a problem? It’s supply is endless.

Quote
If instead of optimizing water usage and being able to rely on local water sources, usage keeps growing and growing, you're going to be much worse off if the infrastructure is damaged (and/or someone decides they need the remote supplies more than you do).

Well, here in Southern California the Pacific Ocean is a local source and desalination could reduce our reliance on non local sources.

Most of our water right now is imported from hundreds of miles away.

As for conservation, with current technology it’s more expensive than the already high prices we pay, and that alone encourages conservation. Further the new technology in the article only brings the price down to the already high price paid in Israel.

Quote
Abundance is great as long as you can keep it abundant, rather than consider it a challenge.

Not sure exactly what that means.

If you’re suggesting it could lead to reliance on an unreliable source, that’s a remote issue. This is not an exotic technology reliant on rare materials etc. it does use a lot of energy, but at the same time the areas where the technology is being developed are the same areas that are developing renewable energy.

There is no downside to a reliable and controlled abundance of fresh water to supply populations living in a desert.




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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #447 on: March 20, 2019, 02:01:05 pm »
There is no downside to a reliable and controlled abundance of fresh water to supply populations living in a desert.

Almost no downside. You still have to deal with the super salty water that's left over. (I suspect it could be dealt with by pumping the saline far out to sea and dispersing it across a relativel large area so it isn't outright toxic.) I don't think that's a reason to not move forward with desalination. It's just a pollution cost that shouldn't be externalized.
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #448 on: March 20, 2019, 02:11:33 pm »
There is no downside to a reliable and controlled abundance of fresh water to supply populations living in a desert.

Almost no downside. You still have to deal with the super salty water that's left over. (I suspect it could be dealt with by pumping the saline far out to sea and dispersing it across a relativel large area so it isn't outright toxic.) I don't think that's a reason to not move forward with desalination. It's just a pollution cost that shouldn't be externalized.

That is correct. (In the case of Israel some of the plants will pump it to the dead seas in hopes of replenishing it)
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Re: Climate Change Catchment Thread
« Reply #449 on: March 21, 2019, 04:34:51 am »
Not sure exactly what that means.

If you’re suggesting it could lead to reliance on an unreliable source, that’s a remote issue. This is not an exotic technology reliant on rare materials etc. it does use a lot of energy, but at the same time the areas where the technology is being developed are the same areas that are developing renewable energy.

There is no downside to a reliable and controlled abundance of fresh water to supply populations living in a desert.

I'm not saying there's a downside to the technology (although I'm also not saying there won't be unexpected consequences), but there is a downside to unchecked growth.

Norman Borlaug possibly saved a billion lives, but there there are about 4 billion more people now, and we're polluting significantly more per capita than we did in 1970. We're making great technological and scientific advances, and it's not nearly enough to mitigate our growth in numbers and consumption.