Solar energy desalination for arid coastal regions: Development of a humidification-dehumidification seawater greenhouse

M. F.A. Goosen*, S. S. Sablani, C. Paton, J. Perret, A. Al-Nuaimi, I. Haffar, H. Al-Hinai, W. H. Shayya

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


The long-term aim of our research is to develop humidification-dehumidification desalination technology for farms in arid coastal regions that are suffering from salt-infected soils and shortages of potable groundwater. The specific aim of our current study was to determine the influence of greenhouse-related parameters on a process, called Seawater Greenhouse, which combines fresh water production with growth of crops in a greenhouse system. A thermodynamic model was used based on heat and mass balances. The dimension of the greenhouse had the greatest overall effect on the water production and energy consumption. A wide shallow greenhouse, 200 m wide by 50 m deep gave 125 m3 d-1 of fresh water. This was greater than a factor of two compared to the worst-case scenario with the same area (50 m wide by 200 m deep), which gave 58 m3 d-1. Low power consumption went hand-in-hand with high efficiency. The wide shallow greenhouse consumed 1.16 kW h m-3, while the narrow deep structure consumed 5.02 kW h m-3. Analysis of the local climate indicated that the structure should be built facing the NE direction. We are also in the process of building a commercial size Seawater Greenhouse at a site by the sea. The aim is to demonstrate the technology to local farmers and companies in the Arabian Gulf. The system will allow for the reclamation of salt-infected land by not relying, at all, on groundwater resources.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)413-419
Number of pages7
JournalSolar Energy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Materials Science(all)


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