Solar-powered membrane desalination set for Atacama Desert in Chile

Chile is looking to integrate a solar powered desalination facility in the Atacama Desert’s Lluta Valley to boost water supplies for agriculture...

The world’s largest copper-producing nation is looking to integrate a solar powered desalination facility in the Atacama Desert’s Lluta Valley to boost water supplies for agriculture.

In a statement published in the Electricidad website, Chilean government funded technology promoter Fundacion Chile said that the project involves the development of a production process for irrigation water using membrane separation technologies with low energy consumption.

The Lluta river basin is one of the most widely used for the agricultural industry in the region of Arica and Parinacota, which supplies agricultural water resources. High salinity water at present restricts its use for agricultural irrigation.

Brackish water will be filtered through the plant using solar energy, providing suitable quality water for irrigation. The "Solar Energy with membrane technology" project has been backed by the Innovation Fund for Competitiveness (FIC).

Elsewhere, solar powered desalination is gathering momentum. Abu Dhabi announced last year a trial to construct solar desalination plants across the Emirate (see WWi story).

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