Solar Energy For Application To Desalination In Tunisia: Description of A Demonstration Project

  • Karim Bourouni
  • Medthameur Chaibi
Conference paper
Part of the NATO Science for Peace and Security Series C: Environmental Security book series (NAPSC)


For southern Mediterranean countries, small-scale solar desalination might be the most economic solution for providing potable water to remote communities lacking access both to the electric grid and the national water supply infrastructure. However, these communities have significant solar energy potential, enabling the use of solar power for fresh water production. This chapter identifies the potential of solar energy for water production in Tunisian rural communities. Three pilot research desalination concepts based on solar energy are described and analysed: solar multiple effects distillation; reverse osmosis driven by photovoltaic panels; and membrane distillation. The first demonstration desalination plant, for supplying 300 inhabitants, is located at Ksar Ghilène, southern Tunisia: it uses solar energy to power a reverse osmosis desalination unit with a capacity of 15m3/day. This chapter gives an analytical description of the plant components and reports experimental results for a 6-month operating period. Several problems challenges remain unsolved (e.g. brine rejection, low efficiencies, high cost). For this reason more research is required to optimise the technical and operating parameters and to improve the economic feasibility of the process.


Tunisia solar energy water scarcity electricity reverse osmosis renewable energy 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karim Bourouni
    • 1
  • Medthameur Chaibi
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratoire Energétique des Bâtiments et Systèmes Solaires, Département de Génie IndustrielEcole Nationale d’Ingénieurs de TunisTuniTunisia
  2. 2.Institut National de Recherche en Génie RuralArianaTunisia

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