Assessing the potential for renewable energy powered desalination for the global irrigation sector
Caldera, Upeksha; Breyer, Christian (2019-07-29)
Post-print / Final draft
Science of the Total Environment
School of Energy Systems
The efficiencies of the existing irrigation sites were obtained and improved based on a logistic curve. The growth was projected such that by 2050, all existing irrigation sites would have an efficiency of 90%. The new irrigation efficiencies were used to obtain the reduced irrigation demand for the years 2030 and 2050. The desalination demand was estimated and an energy system model used to optimise the corresponding renewable energy based power system.
It was found that improving the average irrigation efficiency to 60% by 2030, led to a 64% reduction in total desalination demand. Similarly, an improvement towards 90% irrigation efficiency, by 2050, translates to an 80% reduction in global desalination demand. In 2030, the total water cost is mostly within 0.7 €/m3–2 €/m3 including water transportation costs. Literature reports that farmers may be willing to pay up to 0.63 €/m3 for their irrigation water. The global range in 2050 is estimated to be 0.45 €/m3–1.7 €/m3 reflecting the lower system costs in 2050.
The above results indicate that as conventional water prices increase, renewable energy based seawater reverse osmosis desalination, offers a cost effective water supply for the irrigation sector. Adoption of high efficiency irrigation systems alleviate water stress and can eliminate need for additional water supply.
Caldera, U., Breyer, C. (2019). Assessing the potential for renewable energy powered desalination for the global irrigation sector. Science of the Total Environment, vol. 694. DOI: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133598
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