Already today wind power offers low and long-term stable costs of energy and therefore is able to compete with large scale conventional power generation. Using wind power directly for energy intensive industrial processes requires an optimized hybrid configuration as well as a balanced load and/or energy management. The technical and economical specifics for wind powered seawater desalination (RO) as a completely integrated solution are presented and emphasize its capability and potential to be implemented in medium and large scale within the next few years.
The technology to desalinate seawater by wind power focuses on the continuous adaptation of the membrane process to the current wind power generation (load management) what results in variable operation parameters. The wind energy share directly usable for the process (wind penetration) in a wind-desalination subgrid constellation will be influenced by many aspects:
• Installed capacities (desalination, wind turbine, potable water storage)
• Integrated management systems (load, energy & storage)
• Resource scenarios (wind)
• Demand scenarios (water)
Dependent on the installed wind power capacity three classes can be defined:
• Desalination with wind power support (low penetration)
• Wind powered desalination (medium/ high penetration)
• Wind power project with coupled desalination (high penetration)
The economic viability/application areas will be presented by the Levelized Water Cost (LWC) for typical plant configurations and relevant parameter variations. Since conventional grid power is intended to be replaced by wind power the grid tariff is the significant criteria for the economic viability/application areas of wind powered vs. conventional processing. High grid tariffs (together with low feed-in compensation) may economically rectify the installation of extended desalination capacities.
Joachim Käufler (speaker), civil engineer with main focus on steel and plant constructions. He has substantial work experience of product development, planning/consulting, project development and turn-key implementations within the fields of steel and plant constructions of conventional power plants and renewable energy systems.
Robert Pohl, mechanical engineer/mechatronics. He has research and development experience of product development of wind powered reverse osmosis and prepares a related PhD-thesis.
Hadi Sader, mechanical engineer and MSc. in renewable energies. He has research and work experience of product and project development and training in renewable energies and wind power applications.