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Analysis and Operational Feasibility of Potable Water Production

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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The need for fresh water, a most precious resource on Earth, is increasing as civilizations and technology evolve and populations increase. The feasibility and scalability of alternative water harvesting methods to ensure a continuous supply of water for the future becomes vital. Alternative methods of water harvesting were analyzed to determine the fundamental physics that provides scalability from one size unit to larger and smaller units. In terms of off-the-shelf water harvesting equipment, each technique is engineered to take advantage of a particular technology. This research compared the technologies of nuclear reverse osmosis for the fresh-water producing plants that serve metro-cities, and the technologies employing condensation and non-nuclear reverse osmosis for the city-sized, village-sized, and individual household-sized units. The feasibility of scaling water-harvesting equipment based on a particular technology is limited by both the economics of competing suppliers as well as the engineering to harvest freshwater. This thesis argues from a systems engineering perspective to investigate the feasibility of water-harvesting systems. A personal portable self-operated water-harvesting system is introduced as a new market niche for individuals without access to water. This micro-sized system can operate day and night using solar and Earths radiation.

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