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INTRODUCTION

The value of desalination is better understood through the following facts:

Water, as a resource is the most basic and fundamental component to life. Yet, only 1 % of the Earth's water is fresh water. This small amount is becoming more inadequate, particularly in certain geographicwdi22senic.jpg (58820 bytes) areas of the world and in high-density population areas due to pollution and shortages of rainfall. Desalinating seawater has long been considered as a solution to the world's current and future water problem. But desalination has been costly and unaffordable in places where it is most needed. Still, desalination plants around the world today produce more than several billion gallons of water per day. However, the demand for water continues to exceed the available supply.

To understand the problem (including economic and social balance) that is now upon the world, the following data is appropriate:

The production of a ton of steel requires over 40,000 gallons (182,000 liters) of water; production of a ton of aluminum requires 300,000 gallons (1,364,000 liters) of water. Producing a ton of petrol in a refinery from crude oil needs 20,000 gallons (91,000 liters) of water; producing a ton of artificial fibers from a chemical needs about 200,000 gallons (909,000 liters) of water.  Taking these and other similar statistics for other industries together, we find that, over all the industrial activities of the modern world, one ton of industrial products represent an average use of the order of 200 tons of water. In short, in terms of tonnage produced by the water supplied industry of an industrial country about  about 99.5% is industrial activity, while all the rest is only about 0.5%. That fact implies some very important economic fundamentals which have been too long ignored.

The first is that industrial expansion or development is impossible without water in large quantities. The second is that unless the water can be obtained at a lower cost per unit than all the other materials involved in an industrial product, industrial production will be expensive and impractical.

There are more than 7,500 desalting plants in operation worldwide producing several billion gallons of water per day. 57% are in the Middle East and 12% of the world capacity is produced in the Americas, with most of the plants located in the Caribbean and Florida. However, as drought conditions continue and concerns over water availability increase, desalination projects are being proposed at numerous locations. World economics aside, the market demand still exceeds the industries' capacity to produce the product (water). In fact, attempts to reclaim arid areas combined with increased population growth, industrial and economic development, signal a strong and continued market need. However the large multi-million gallons per day system promoted over the past several years is losing market share. Due to simple economic factors, these 30-50 million gallons facilities did not materialize as projected. According to the "Water Desalination Report," a recognized industry newsletter (January 1988), the current market trend is for 5-20 million gallons per day (MGD) systems - exactly where the "Passeral" process is most effective.

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