What's Being Done Now?
There are several treatment processes for desalination, including reverse osmosis, thermal distillation, and electrodialysis. Reverse osmosis (RO) is currently the most widely used desalination technology, accounting for over 60% of global desalination capacity. In RO, seawater is forced through a semipermeable membrane under high pressure, which separates the salt and other minerals from the water. Thermal distillation, which involves boiling seawater and condensing the vapor to produce freshwater, is typically used in large-scale desalination plants. Electrodialysis uses an electric field to remove ions from the water, and is often used in combination with RO or thermal distillation. While these treatment processes are effective at producing potable water from seawater, they require significant energy inputs and can be expensive to operate and maintain. Ongoing research and development efforts are focused on improving the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of desalination technologies, as well as exploring alternative sources of freshwater.