Fuel cell operated reverse osmosis desalination system

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2 Citations (Scopus)


Kuwait has limited natural water resources and the non-conventional source of desalted seawater is used to satisfy the demand for potable water. Co-generation power-desalting plants (CPDP) are used to produce both electric power and desalted water, with steam extracted from steam turbines to supply desalting units, usually multi-stage flash (MSF) desalting units, with its thermal energy requirements. The MSF system is known for its high rate of energy consumption. The Ministry of electricity and water (MEW) was forced to install gas turbines (GT) to satisfy the increase in the peak load and to carry a good share of the base load. This resulted in a shortage in the availability of steam turbines for future use of the MSF units. Both alternative energy sources (other than steam extracted from turbines) and more energy-efficient desalting systems are needed to meet the rising demands for water and electricity. This paper discusses the feasibility of using reliable and commercially available fuel cells (FC), phosphoric acid fuel cell (PAFC), known as ONSI P25, to operate seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalting system for small communities in Kuwait. The PAFC is known by having documented performance and is operated by natural gas. The SWRO is the most efficient desalting system. The technical merits and the economic benefits involved in combining the PAFC with the SWRO are outlined.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-48
Number of pages10
JournalDesalination and Water Treatment
Issue number1-3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Cogeneration power desalting plant
  • Fuel cell
  • Fuel used for fuel cell
  • Methane
  • Natural gas
  • Phosphoric acid fuel cell PAFC
  • Reverse osmosis desalting system
  • Specific mechanical (electric) energy consumption SEC

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pollution
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Ocean Engineering

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