Techno-economic assessment of electrodialysis and reverse osmosis desalination plants

Muhammad M. Generous, Naef A.A. Qasem, Usman A. Akbar, Syed M. Zubair*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Assessment of desalination plants is essential to evaluate potable water production, energy consumption, and economic feasibility. A design model with a boundary layer effect, water transport effect, spacer effect, and Donnan potential was used for ED desalination. Similarly, a design model is also investigated for RO desalination with and without a pressure energy recovery device. Specific product water cost is evaluated based on annual expenses consisting of energy cost, fixed cost, labor cost, membrane replacement cost, maintenance cost, chemical cost, and insurance cost. Normalized sensitivity analysis is also conducted to identify the most influential parameters impacting the cost model. It is found that ED is economically feasible when salinity is less than 7 and 9 ppt compared to RO with and without PX, respectively. The product water cost is 0.384, 0.46, and 0.494 $/m3 for ED, RO with PX, and RO without PX, respectively, at a salinity of 5 ppt (e.g., groundwater salinity). The product water cost increases to be 1.532, 0.559, and 0.857 $/m3 for ED, RO with PX, and RO without PX, respectively, at a feed salinity of 35 ppt (e.g., seawater salinity). Also, highly saline water can be desalinated with ED at the cost of <5 $/m3 for a salinity <100 ppt.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118875
JournalSeparation and Purification Technology
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier B.V.


  • Economic analysis
  • Electrodialysis
  • Fixed cost
  • Power cost
  • Reverse osmosis
  • Salinity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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