Critical Review of: Renewable Energy Powered Membrane Technology

Topics: Drinking water, Desalination, Reverse osmosis Pages: 4 (1270 words) Published: November 5, 2012
Critical Review of: Renewable Energy Powered Membrane Technology 1. Development and Characterization of a Photovoltaic Hybrid Membrane System

Water provision for isolated communities is a critical issue as a large number of live are lost each year due to lack of access to safe drinking water (1). That being said, it is important that we develop ways of providing such communities with potable water. Unavailability of power is typically another issue that puts a strain on such advances as well as cost to operate such systems. For remote communities with brackish groundwater resources, a small, renewable, desalination system is the best option economically and sustainably for producing safe drinking water. Using PV panels to convert sunlight into direct-current electricity, a renewable system can be powered and run at a low cost.

Engineers, A.I. Schafer, A. Broeckmann and B.S. Richards collaborated to evaluate the performance of four different commercial PV-membrane desalination systems, at a Central Australian bore with relatively poor water quality. Although the hypothesis is not clearly stated, the research done in this not necessarily hypothetical, but rather just testing to find the most efficient option, no pre-experimental hypothesis of which membrane system would perform best was discussed.

Researchers adhere to the scientific method. They give background information on the area, stating that Central Australia receives more sunlight than the coast so a solar-powered desalination system would be a plausible solution to converting brackish water to drinking water for remote communities. The also discuss the methods they used as well as materials. They attached various sensors and monitors to their pumping system, which were then attached to a datalogger programed to take measurements regularly and had a backup plan to measure flow if it was outside the range that could be measured by the datalogger. The experiment is reproducible. Researchers also...
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