Saudi Arabia has the largest online capacity of seawater desalination for its energy and domestic needs at 9.2 million cubic meters a day. Next is the United Arab Emirates at 8.4 million cubic meters and Spain at 3.8 million cubic meters.
Global desalination in 2024 will be about 180 million cubic meters per day.
Global desalination in 2030 will be about 280 million cubic meters per day.
The CAGR (annual growth) of demand for desalination between 1990 and 2010 was 9.9%, while the CAGR for the 20-year period from end 2010 to end 2030 is expected to be 6.1%. Large-scale seawater desalination will spread to more geographic markets, demand for brackish water desalination will rise sharply, and small-scale desalination units will become more widespread.
China tripling desalination by 2015 but lags behind world desalination leaders Saudi Arabia and UAE
China aims to produce 2.2 million cubic meters of seawater-converted freshwater per day by 2015, compared with 660,000 cubic meters in 2011, according to the 2011-2015 plan.
More than half of freshwater channeled to isles and more than 15 percent of water delivered to coastal factories will come from the sea by 2015, according to the plan.
Industrial analysts estimated the development plan will require investment of around 21 billion yuan (3.35 billion U.S. dollars).
Markets expected to see the fastest growth in desalination during the next five years, more than doubling capacity, are South Africa, Jordan, Mexico, Libya, Chile, India and China.
Demand for water to generate power, energy and refining needs sparked such growth in desalination plants that 50 percent more capacity is due online this year than in 2012, according to newly published data.
A 30 percent improvement in energy efficiency of the best performing desalination plants contributed to the rise,
China's first batch of regions and companies have been selected to carry out seawater desalination pilots, China's National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), the country's top economic planner, has announced.
It is the latest move to boost development in the sector.
The list includes the cities of Shenzhen and Zhoushan, Luxixiang Island in Zhejiang Province, Binhai New Area in Tianjin, Bohai New Area in Hebei, and several industrial parks and companies.
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