Low-recovery, -energy-consumption, -emission hybrid systems of seawater desalination: Energy optimization and cost analysis

Tewodros Nigatu Bitaw, Kiho Park, Jin Kim, Ji Woong Chang, Dae Ryook Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Ultraconcentrated seawater disposal is detrimental to marine biota, and carbon emissions from desalination processes are detrimental to the atmosphere. These detrimental effects are expected to increase, given the continuously growing global water demand and the associated water stress problems caused by water scarcity and population and economic growth. Along with political inclination to impose strict environmental regulations and a carbon tax on the price of freshwater, developing low-energy-consumption, low-carbon-emission desalination systems operating at low recovery is the future of SW desalination. Such desalination systems can be achieved by integrating electrodialysis, which does not have driving force limitations, with nanofiltration and brackish water reverse osmosis (RO), which provide low-energy-consumption desalination regions, to decrease energy consumption below that of current state-of-the-art RO systems. In this study, iterative optimization algorithms were developed for hybrid desalination systems. As a result, energy consumptions as low as 1.3 kWh/m3 were achieved at recoveries <30%. Despite the higher cost of freshwater production compared with that of state-of-the-art RO systems, owing to utilization of larger membrane areas, the hybrid systems reduced carbon dioxide emissions and brine concentrations from 63 to 26 and 41 to 34%, respectively.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114085
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Oct 15

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was partially supported by Korea University.This work was supported by Korea University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.


  • Energy optimization
  • Hybrid simulation
  • Low emission
  • Low recovery
  • Seawater desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • General Materials Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Mechanical Engineering


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