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Waste Heat Powered Desalination for Hydrogen Production

Project Summary

Waterwhelm have developed a patent-pending forward osmosis technology powered by waste-heat and electricity, already developed for wastewater, and aim to further develop the technology for seawater desalination purposes. Compared to the most commonly deployed desalination technology (reverse osmosis), Waterwhelm’s technology can reduce electricity consumption by up to 80% and CAPEX by up to 35 %. Electricity consumption is reduced by utilising waste heat, and CAPEX is minimised by lower pressure operation.


The UK is predicted to require approximately 270 TWh/yr of low-carbon hydrogen by 2050. By 2035, the CCC’s central estimate is that 90 TWh/yr will be required (CCC, 2020). The UK, and Scotland in particular has the opportunity to scale up production to meet this demand but will require more than 60m m3/day purified water by 2050. Quite simply, potable water reserves will never come close to meeting this requirement so seawater will need to be used in the vast majority of cases. Reducing the OPEX of desalination for a single 300 MW hydrogen production facility could save over £10MM in electricity costs per year.

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