Our planet is covered in 71% water but only about 3% of that is freshwater that usable in its natural form. The desalination of seawater has always been a topic of interest among scientists as it could lead to a potential breakthrough for the whole world. Keeping this in mind, the London-based Solar Water PLC recently signed an agreement with Saudi Arabian government as part of their future $500 billion “NEOM” project for a greener and cleaner future. The company is aiming to build the “first desalination plant with solar dome technology”.
The solar dome plant is basically a “steel pot buried underground, covered with a dome”, giving the look of a giant ball. The glass dome is surrounded by heliostat reflectors that reflect solar radiation inside. The radiations are used in heating the seawater inside the dome, which evaporates and condenses to form freshwater. According to David Reavley, Solar Water CEO, this technique is cheap, fast to build and also carbon neutral since it doesn’t make use of polluting fibers like other desalination technologies.
There are still doubts about the mass-scale production of these solar water domes and if Solar Water can pull this off in their PLC 2021’s experiment, then it would prove to be a huge step towards a new carbon-neutral desalination technique that doesn’t need a lot of electricity nor polluting chemicals to operate. There are other companies such as Climate Fund Manager and Solar Water Solutions, that are installing about 200 carbon-neutral desalination units in Kitui County, Kenya with the aim to provide clean water to 400,000 people by 2023. For countries in the Middle East, where there is scarcity of rainfall and freshwater resources, the construction of solar domes by Solar Water could prove to be a great asset in the future.