2.500 | Spring 2009 | Graduate

Desalination and Water Purification

Related Resources

Further reading is available on specific desalination technologies and issues.

General Background on Water

Specter, Michael. “The Last Drop.” The New Yorker, October 23, 2006.

Executive Summary, “Water for People, Water for Life.” 1st United Nations World Water Development Report, March 22, 2003. (PDF)

Kemsley, Jyllian. “Treating Sewage for Drinking Water.” Chemical and Engineering News 86 (January 2008): 71-73.

Halford, Bethany. “Side Effects.” Chemical and Engineering News 86 (February 2008): 13-17.

Gardner-Outlaw, Tom, and Robert Engelman. “Sustaining Water, Easing Scarcity: A Second Update.” Population Action International, May 1997. 

Barrionuevo, Alexei. “Chilean Town Withers in Free Market for Water.” New York Times, March 14, 2009.

Water Quality Standards

Guidelines for Drinking-Water Quality: Vol. 1, Recommendations.” 4th ed. World Health Organization, 2008. (PDF - 3.9MB)

“National Primary Drinking Water Regulations.” U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, May 2009. EPA 816-F-09-004. (PDF)

Reynolds, T. D., and P. A. Richards. “Water Quality.” In Unit Operations and Processes in Environmental Engineering. Boston, MA: PWS Publishing, 1995, pp. 78-91. ISBN: 9780534948849.

“Desalination for Safe Water Supply: Guidance for the Health and Environmental Aspects Applicable to Desalination.” World Health Organization, 2007. (PDF - 1.2MB)

Hooley, J. P., G. A. Pittner, and Z. Amjad. “The Importance of Water Analysis for Reverse Osmosis Design and Operation.” Chapter 5 in Amjad, Zahid. Reverse Osmosis. New York, NY: Van Nostrand Rheinhold, 1993. ISBN: 9780442239640.

General Surveys of Desalination

Miller, James E. “Review of Water Resources and Desalination Technologies.” Sandia National Labs (March 2003): SAND 2003-0800. (PDF) (Courtesy of Sandia National Labs. Used with permission.)

Properties of Salt Water and Seawater

Pitzer, Kenneth S., J. Christopher Peiper, and R. H. Busey. “Thermodynamic Properties of Aqueous Sodium Chloride Solutions.” Journal of Physical Chemical Reference Data 13 (1984): 1-102. (PDF - 6.1MB)

Bromley, L. A., et al. “Thermodynamic Properties of Sea Salt Solutions.” American Institute of Chemical Engineers Journal 20 (March 1974): 326-335.

ASTM Standard D1141, 1998 (2008), “Standard for Practice for the Preparation of Substitute Ocean Water.” West Conshohocken, PA: ASTM International, 2008. DOI: 10.1520/D1141-98R08.

Stewart, Robert H. “Definition of Salinity.” Section 6.1 in Introduction to Physical Oceanography. Texas A & M University, 2008. (PDF) (Courtesy of Robert H. Stewart. Used with permission.)

Sharqawy, M. H., J. H. Lienhard V, and S. M. Zubair. “The Thermophysical Properties of Seawater: A Review of Existing Correlations and Data.” Desalination and Water Treatment, 2010 (forthcoming). Please see Thermophysical Properties of Seawater to download seawater property data tables and software.

Reverse Osmosis

Fritzmann, C., et al. “State-of-the-Art Reverse Osmosis Desalination.” Desalination 216 (October 2007): 1-76.

Sauvet-Guichon, Bruno. “Ashkelon Desalination Plant – A Successful Challenge.” Desalination 203 (February 2007): 75-81.

Probstein, Ronald F. “Reverse Osmosis and Mixed Heterogeneous Reactions.” Section 4.4 in Physicochemical Hydrodynamics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience, 2003. ISBN: 9780471458302.

Yasuda, H., and C. E. Lamaze. “Salt Rejection by Polymer Membranes in Reverse Osmosis. I. Nonionic Polymers.” Journal of Polymer Science: Part A-2 9 (1971): 1537-1551.

Yasuda, H., C. E. Lamaze, and A. Schindler. “Salt Rejection by Polymer Membranes in Reverse Osmosis. II. Ionic Polymers.” Journal of Polymer Science: Part A-2 9 (1971): 1579-1590.

Paul, D. R. “The Role of Membrane Pressure in Reverse Osmosis.” Journal of Applied Polymer Science 16 (1972): 771-782.

———. “Reformulation of the Solution-Diffusion Theory of Reverse Osmosis.” Journal of Membrane Science 241 (October 2004): 371-386.

Cath, Tzahi Y., Amy E. Childress, and Menachem Elimelech. “Forward Osmosis: Principles, Applications, and Recent Developments.” Journal of Membrane Science 281 (2006): 70-87.


Hilal, N., et al. “A Comprehensive Review of Nanofiltration Membranes.” Desalination 170 (2004): 281-308.

Asatekin, Ayse, et al. “Antifouling Nanofiltration Membranes for Membrane Bioreactors from Self-Assembling Graft Copolymers.” Journal of Membrane Science 285 (2006): 81-89.

Asatekin, Ayse, and Anne M. Mayes. “Amphiphilic Graft Copolymers for Nanofiltration Membranes with Tunable Pore Size.” MRS, Fall 2006. (PDF - 1.3MB) (Courtesy of Ayse Asatekin and Anne Mayes. Used with permission.)


Strathmann, Heiner. “Electromembrane Processes: State-of-the-Art Processes and Recent Developments.” European Desalination Society, 2007. (PDF - 1.6MB) (Courtesy of Heiner Strathmann. Used with permission.)

Probstein, Ronald F. “The Electrolytic Cell”, “Electrodialysis,” and “Ion Exchange.” Sections 6.1-6.3 in Physicochemical Hydrodynamics. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Interscience, 2003. ISBN: 9780471458302.

Strathmann, Heiner. “The Ion-Exchange Equilibrium and the Donnan Potential,” and “The Electrochemical Equilibrium.” Sections 3.1.2 and 3.1.3, Chapter 2 in Ion-Exchange Membrane Separation Processes. Boston, MA: Elsevier, 2004. ISBN: 9780444502360.

Scaling and Fouling

Hasson, David. “Scale Formation and Prevention.” In Galde, Heike, and Joachim Ulrich. Scaling in Seawater Desalination: Is Molecular Modeling the Tool to Overcome the Problem? Lutherstadt Wittenburg, Germany: ESF Exploratory Workshop, April 2001, pp. 49-68.

Flemming, Hans-Curt, et al. “Effects and Extent of Biofilm Accumulation in Membrane Systems.” Chapter 5 in Geesey, Gill G., Zbigniew Lewandowski, and Hans-Curt Flemming. Biofouling and Biocorrosion in Industrial Water Systems. Boca Raton, FL: Lewis Publishers, 1994. ISBN: 9780873719285.

Multistage Flash Evaporation and Multiple Effect Distillation

El-Sayed, Y. M., and R. S. Silver. “Fundamentals of Distillation.” Chapter 2 in Spielger, K. S., and A. D. K. Laird. Principles of Desalination. 2nd ed., Part A. New York, NY: Academic Press, 1980. ISBN: 9780126567014.

Wade, Neil M. “Distillation Plant Development and Cost Update.” Desalination 136 (2001): 3-12.

Ophir, A., and F. Lokiec. “Advanced MED Process for Most Economical Seawater Desalination.” Desalination 182 (2005): 187-198.

El-Dessouky, H., and H. Ettouney. “Flash Desalination Processes.” Section 3.22 in Heat Exchanger Design Handbook. Edited by Hewitt, G. F. New York, NY: Begell House, 2002. ISBN: 9781567001815.

Irreversibilities in Desalination

Kahraman, Nafiz, et al. “Exergy Analysis of a Combined RO, NF, and EDR Desalination Plant.” Desalination 171 (2004): 217-232.

Spiegler, K. S., and Y. M. El-Sayed. “The Energetics of Desalination Processes.” Desalination 134 (2001): 109-128.

Water Treatment

Hammer, M. J., and M. J. Hammer. “Water Treatment.” Chapter 7 in Water and Wastewater Technology. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2007. ISBN: 9780131745421.

Wastewater Treatment

Harleman, D. R. F., and S. Murcott. “An Innovative Approach to Urban Wastewater Treatment in the Developing World.” Water21: Magazine of the International Water Association (June 2001): 1-13.

Ujang, Z., and M. Henze. “Sustainable Sanitation for Developing Countries.” Chapter 1 in Municipal Wastewater Management in Developing Countries: Principles and Engineering. London, England: IWA Publishing, 2006. ISBN: 9781843390305.

Tarr, J. A., et al. “Water and Wastes: A Retrospective Assessment of Wastewater Technology in the United States, 1800-1932.” Technology and Culture 25 (April 1984): 226-263.

Tarr, J. A. “Origins of the Piped Society.” Appendix, in del Porto, David, and Carol Steinfeld. The Composting Toilet System Book. Concord, MA: Center for Ecological Pollution Prevention, 2000, pp. 209-233 ISBN: 9780966678307.

Murcott, Susan. “Water and Sanitation Literacy Quiz.” (PDF) (Courtesy of Susan Murcott. Used with permission.)

Solar Desalination

Trieb, Franz, et al. “AQUA-CSP: Concentrating Solar Power for Seawater Desalination.” Stuttgart, Germany: DLR, November 2007. (PDF - 7.4MB)

Narayan, G. P., M. H. Sharqawy, E. K. Summers, J. H. Lienhard V, S. M. Zubair, and M. A. Antar. “The Potential of Solar-driven Humidification-dehumidification Desalination for Small-scale Decentralized Water Production.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews (2009). DOI:10.1016/j.rser.2009.11.014.

Fath, Hassan E. S, et al. “PV and Thermally Driven Small-Scale, Stand-Alone Solar Desalination Systems With Very Low Maintenance Needs.” Desalination 225 (2008): 58-69.

Alarcón-Padilla, Diego-Cesar, et al. “First Experimental Results of a New Hybrid Solar/Gas Multi-Effect Distillation System: The AQUASOL Project.” Desalination 220 (2008): 619-625.

Ettouney, H., and L. Rizzuti. “Solar Desalination: A Challenge for Sustainable Fresh Water in the 21st Century.” Chapter 1 in Rizzuti, Lucio, Hisham M. Ettouney, and Andrea Cipollina. Solar Desalination for the 21st Century: A Review of Modern Technologies and Researches on Desalination Coupled to Renewable Energies. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer, 2007. ISBN: 9781402055065.

Koschikowski, Joachim, Marcel Weighaus, and Matthias Rommel. “Solar Thermal-Driven Desalination Plants Based on Membrane Distillation.” Desalination 256 (2003): 295-304.