TU Delft tests windmill for seawater desalination

February 29, 2008

A traditional windmill which drives a pump: that is the simple concept behind the combination of windmill/reverse osmosis developed by the Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in The Netherlands. In this case, it involves a high-pressure pump which pushes water through a membrane using approximately 60 bar. This reverse osmosis membrane produces fresh water from seawater directly. The windmill is suited for use by, for instance, small villages in isolated, dry coastal areas.

The combination of windmills and desalination installations is already commercially available. These windmills produce electricity from wind power, the electricity is stored and subsequently used to drive the high-pressure pump for the reverse osmosis installation. The storage of electricity in particular is very expensive. Energy is also lost during conversion.

In the TU Delft installation, the high-pressure pump is driven directly by wind power. Water storage can be used to overcome calm periods. The storage of water is after all a great deal cheaper than that of electricity.

Robust

The chosen windmill is normally used for irrigation purposes. These windmills turn relatively slowly and are also very robust. On the basis of the windmill's capacity at varying wind speeds, it is estimated that it will produce 5 to 10 m3 of fresh water per day: enough drinking water for a small village of 500 inhabitants. A water reservoir will have to ensure that enough water is available for a calm period lasting up to five days. Three safeguards (in the event of the installation running dry, a low number of revolutions or a high number of revolutions) are also performed mechanically so that no electricity is needed.

Prototype

The first prototype has been built and is already working at a location near the A13 motorway near Delft. This prototype is to be dismantled and transported to Curaçao the first week of March. There the concept will be tested on seawater.
-end-
More information

The research is being sponsored by Mr Grootscholten, Aqua-for-All, Hatenboer and SenterNovem. Please see www.drinkingwiththewind.nl for more information.

Bas Heijman, Drinking Water research group, faculty of Civil Engineering & Geosciences, +31 (0)15-278 4282, s.g.j.heijman@tudelft.nl

Evgenia Rabinovitch, e.n.rabinovitch@gmail.com

Delft University of Technology

Related Electricity Articles from Brightsurf:

Mirror-like photovoltaics get more electricity out of heat
New heat-harnessing 'solar' cells that reflect 99% of the energy they can't convert to electricity could help bring down the price of storing renewable energy as heat, as well as harvesting waste heat from exhaust pipes and chimneys.

Engineers use electricity to clean up toxic water
Powerful electrochemical process destroys water contaminants, such as pesticides. Wastewater is a significant environment issue.

Considering health when switching to cleaner electricity
Power plants that burn coal and other fossil fuels emit not only planet-warming carbon dioxide, but also pollutants linked to breathing problems and premature death.

Windows will soon generate electricity, following solar cell breakthrough
Semi-transparent solar cells that can be incorporated into window glass are a 'game-changer' that could transform architecture, urban planning and electricity generation, Australian scientists say in a paper in Nano Energy.

Static electricity as strong as lightening can be saved in a battery
Prof. Dong Sung Kim and his joint research team presented a new technology that can increase the amount of power generated by a triboelectric nanogenerator.

To make amino acids, just add electricity
By finding the right combination of abundantly available starting materials and catalyst, Kyushu University researchers were able to synthesize amino acids with high efficiency through a reaction driven by electricity.

Using renewable electricity for industrial hydrogenation reactions
The University of Pittsburgh's James McKone's research on using renewable electricity for industrial hydrogenation reactions is featured in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A's Emerging Investigators special issue.

Water + air + electricity = hydrogen peroxide
A reactor developed by Rice University engineers produces pure hydrogen peroxide solutions from water, air and energy.

Producing electricity at estuaries using light and osmosis
Researchers at EPFL are working on a technology to exploit osmotic energy -- a source of power that's naturally available at estuaries, where fresh water comes into contact with seawater.

Experimental device generates electricity from the coldness of the universe
A drawback of solar panels is that they require sunlight to generate electricity.

Read More: Electricity News and Electricity Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.