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Integrated desalination plant expansion and water distribution planning model

Ibnouf, Mahmoud Ahmed
A Master of Science thesis in Chemical Engineering by Mahmoud Ahmed Ibnouf entitled, “Integrated desalination plant expansion and water distribution planning model”, submitted in December 2022. Thesis advisor is Dr. Naif Darwish and thesis co-advisor is Dr. Moncer Hariga. Soft copy is available (Thesis, Completion Certificate, Approval Signatures, and AUS Archives Consent Form).
Scarcity of freshwater resources, reduced quality, and increasing demand have led to an increased dependency on non-conventional water resources. Due to this shift, water desalination has emerged as an integral part of the solutions utilized to meet increasing global demand for water and considering long term planning for expanding its capacity became vital. This methodology presents a mathematical model with the objective of assisting decision makers in making strategic long-term decisions regarding the water supply chain to meet increasing demand while minimizing the overall financial costs and environmental impact of the water supply chain for a set planning horizon. Sharjah emirate in the United Arab Emirates was chosen as a case study to assess the viability of the model. Data from the water authority in Sharjah and the literature were obtained to provide the model with estimations for the costs and environmental impact of the different choices regarding the relevant aspects of the water supply chain in addition to the demand projections for the chosen planning horizon. The desalination technologies assessed were reverse osmosis (RO), multi-stage flash distillation (MSF), multi-effect distillation (MED), brackish water reverse osmosis (BWRO), and brackish water electrodialysis (BWED). The results provided optimal choices regarding utilization of different water sources, choice of desalination technologies, in addition to capacity and location of expansions to current desalination facilities. Furthermore, the optimum choices regarding transportation capacity expansions, transportation routes, storage capacity, and water storage levels on a yearly basis for the duration of the planning period was obtained. For the case study mentioned, the final costs over a planning horizon of 15 years were 12.47 billion dirhams while the total carbon emissions over the same period amounted to 8.62 billion kg. In addition, some major findings such as the overall optimality of RO technology over all other alternatives was shown from the results. Lastly, a sensitivity analysis was conducted to analyze the effects of adjusting the demand on expansion decisions and overall costs in addition to the sensitivity of results to the capital and operational costs of desalination. Moreover, the effect of the carbon cap on the results was assessed.
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