Using Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to Evaluate Environmental Impact of Kangan Desalination Plant

Document Type : Research Paper


1 PhD Student, Environment Dept., Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen, Iran

2 Assist. Prof., Dept. of Environment, Roudehen Branch, Islamic Azad University, Roudehen, Iran


Freshwater limitation as one of the most important challenges of water resources management of the country has caused seawater desalting to be considered a suitable option for utilizing non-conventional water resources in some parts of the country. Due to the lack of a comprehensive understanding of the environmental impacts of desalination plants, this study was carried out to investigate the potential environmental impacts of the Kangan desalination plant. In this study, the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) method was used. So, after preparing an inventory of materials and energy at all stages of freshwater production in the Kangan desalination plant, impact 2002+ version (2.15) as impact assessment method and SimaPro9 software were used to investigate environmental impacts of all stages of seawater desalination process on impact categories, including: global warming, reduction of non-renewable energies, ozone layer depletion, aquatic and terrestrial ecotoxicity, etc. Based on the results, most of the environmental impact is related to climate change and reduction of primary resources. So that, 3.224 Kg carbon dioxide equivalent has been released and reduced 55.035 MJ in primary sources to produce 1 m3 of desalinated water. Also, electricity supply through desalination cycle stages had the most contribution on all impact categories except ozone layer depletion and eutrophication. Due to the maximum contribution of energy on environmental impacts of seawater desalination process, utilization of renewable energy sources can play an important role in reducing the environmental impacts of these plants.


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