Identifying locations for sustainable desalination infrastructure

The research article 'Desalination network model driven decision support system: A case study of Saudi Arabia' has been published in Elsevier journal Desalination.


This study aims to develop a network model driven platform that supports decision-makers to make well-informed decisions for the efficient water supplies, taking Saudi Arabia as a case study. The water/energy network analysis should be able to identify optimal locations for sustainable desalination infrastructure investments, accounting for the existing assets and the current investment plans. The geographical aspect of individual resource production and distribution can be quantitatively handled by a graph-theoretic approach.

This study employs a new multicommodity network flow model called the INFINIT (interdependent network flows with induced internal transformation) model, which enables to address water-energy nexus issues and to optimize the flow of multiple resources as well as placement of new water/energy facilities at the individual facility level. The INFINIT model in this study formulates and solves mixed-integer linear programming (MILP) problems to minimize the designated multi-objective functions of the total cost and CO2 emission. As a result of optimization, the Pareto-optimal solutions with different network flow topology and the downselected potential locations for new facilities are obtained. To effectively visualize alternative design and policy scenarios, two ways of visualization of the results are developed: a MATLAB-based graphical user interface and tabletop 3D map projection.

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