Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339

Influence of fuel costs on seawater desalination options
Mabrouk Methnani
International Atomic Energy Agency, Wagramerstrasse 5, Box 100, A-1400 Vienna Austria Tel. þ43-1-2600 22810; Fax. þ43-1-2600 29598; email: m.methnani@iaea.org Received 31 January 2006; accepted 15 February 2006

Abstract Reference estimates of seawater desalination costs for recent mega projects are all quoted in the range of US$0.50/m3. This however does not reflect the recent trends of escalating fossil fuel costs. In order to analyze the effect of these trends, a recently updated version of the IAEA Desalination Economic Evaluation Program, DEEP-3, has been used to compare fossil and nuclear seawater desalination options, under varied fuel cost and interest rate scenarios. Results presented for a gas combined-cycle and a modular high-temperature gas-cooled reactor design, show clear cost advantages for the latter, for both Multi-Effect Distillation (MED) and Reverse Osmosis (RO). Water production cost estimates for the Brayton cycle nuclear option are hardly affected by fuel costs, while combined cycle seawater desalination costs show an increase of more than 40% when fuel costs are doubled. For all cases run, the nuclear desalination costs are lower and if the current trend in fossil fuel prices continues as predicted by pessimist scenarios and the carbon tax carried by greenhouse emissions is enforced in the future, the cost advantage for nuclear desalination will be even more pronounced. Increasing the interest rate from 5 to 8% has a smaller effect than fuel cost variations. It translates into a water cost increase in the range of 10–20%, with the nuclear option being the more sensitive. Keywords: Seawater disalination costs, Nuclear desalination costs, DEEP

1. Introduction The costs of fossil fuels have shown an escalating trend, registering a three-fold increase in a period of less than three years and according to prevailing pessimist
*Corresponding author.

scenarios, the trend is set to continue upwards in the future. The imbalance in supply and demand is blamed for this trend. Existing supplies in many oil and gas producing regions of the world are peaking and

Presented at EuroMed 2006 conference on Desalination Strategies in South Mediterranean Countries: Cooperation between Mediterranean Countries of Europe and the Southern Rim of the Mediterranean. Sponsored by the European Desalination Society and the University of Montpellier II, Montpellier, France, 21-25 May 2006 0011-9164/07/$– See front matter Ó 2007 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved

Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339

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new discoveries are harder to find. Meanwhile, demand for oil and gas from growing populations and emerging economies such as China, India and others are on the increase. Besides costs, there is also a rising concern about the environmental impact of continuing to burn fossil fuel, with some calling for the introduction of a carbon tax, to limit the use of fossil fuel. In this paper, we use a recently upgraded version of the IAEA Desalination Economic Evaluation Program (DEEP-3) to analyze the effects of these cost trends on reference estimates of seawater desalination costs. For most recent mega projects, a water cost in the range of US$0.50/m3 is usually quoted, but this cost does not reflect the recent hikes in fossil fuel costs. In this study, we evaluate the effect on water costs when fossil fuel costs are varied from $50 to 100/BOE, nuclear fuel costs from $6 to 12/MWh and interest rates from 5 to 8%. 2. Deep-3 model DEEP is a Desalination Economic Evaluation Program developed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and made freely available for download, under a license agreement (www.iaea.org/nucleardesalination). The program is based on linked Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and can be useful for evaluating desalination strategies by calculating estimates of technical performance and costs for various alternative energy and desalination technology configurations. Desalination technology options modeled, include Multi Stage Flash (MSF), Multi-Effect Distillation (MED), Reverse Osmosis (RO) and hybrid options (RO-MSF, RO-MED) while energy source options include nuclear, fossil, renewables and grid electricity (stand-alone RO).

Version three of DEEP (DEEP-3) features important changes from previous versions, including upgrades in thermal and membrane performance and costing models, the coupling configuration matrix and the user interface. Changes in the thermal perance model include a revision of the Gain Output Ratio (GOR) calculation and its generalization to include thermal vapor compression effects. Since energy costs continue to represent an important fraction of seawater desalination costs, the lost shaft work model has been generalized to properly account for both backpressure and extraction systems. For RO systems, changes include improved modeling of system recovery, feed pressure and permeate salinity, taking into account temperature, feed salinity and fouling correction factors. The upgrade to the coupling technology configuration matrix includes a re-categorization of the energy sources to follow turbine design (steam vs. gas) and co-generation features (dual-purpose vs. heat-only). In addition, cost data has also been updated to reflect current practice and the user interface has been refurbished and made user-friendlier. A full description of the DEEP-3 models can be found elsewhere [1].

3. Selected cases The cases selected for cost comparison include the following:  Combined Cycle (CC) with MED.  Combined Cycle (CC) with RO.  High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) with MED.  High Temperature Gas Cooled Reactor (HTGR) with RO.

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Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339

Combined cycle power systems represent a typical fossil fuel energy source and continue to be the workhorse for conventional cogeneration of electricity and potable water from seawater desalination, with the latter using steam from a heat recovery steam generating system. High Temperature Gas-Cooled Reactors represent a new generation of nuclear power plants under consideration for process heat applications, including nuclear desalination. With recent advances in gas-turbine Brayton cycle designs, HTGRs offer virtually costfree energy at the heat sink boundaries of the pre-cooler, and interestingly enough, at just the desired range of temperatures needed by the distillation process. In the Brayton cycle, helium enters the pre-cooler at a temperature of 100–120 C and rejects its waste heat to cooling water, before entering the first compression stage at ambient temperature. Compression heat in each successive stage raises the temperature of the helium gas back up close to 100 C. In order to improve compression efficiency, inter-coolers are installed to remove this heat. Coupling a distillation unit at the precooler and inter-cooler interfaces will make good use of this available waste energy, raising the overall thermal efficiency of the cycle, without compromising electrical efficiency. Since energy costs represent 30–50% of overall desalination costs, the incentives for using HTGRs for fresh water production are compelling. Preliminary studies point to the potential for cutting the projected water costs by up to 50% [2]. For the RO cases, the assumption is that the associated energy source would be supplying the electricity needed by the desalination process. DEEP-3 runs were made for fossil fuel costs at $50, 75 and 100/BOE, nuclear fuel costs of $6 and 12/MWh and interest rates of

both 5 and 8%. Other relevant parameters are shown in Tables 1–4. 4. Results DEEP-3 results are compared in Table 5 and 6 for the two interest rates of 5 and 10%, respectively, showing a clear cost advantage for nuclear desalination. Water production cost estimates range from $0.56 to 0.69/m3 for RO and from $0.58 to 0.72/m3 for MED. For combined cycle seawater desalination, costs climb higher, ranging from $0.70 to 0.96/m3 for RO and from $1.10 to 1.71/m3 for MED. If the current trend in fossil fuel prices continues as predicted by pessimist scenarios, and the carbon tax carried by greenhouse emissions is enforced in the future, the cost advantage for nuclear desalination will be even more pronounced. Increasing the interest rate from 5 to 8%, has a smaller effect than fuel cost variations. It translates into a water cost increase in the range of 10–20%, with the nuclear option being more sensitive. The results can be explained by the fact that nuclear fuel costs amount to only a small percentage of the total cost of electricity. This, coupled with the negligible cost of steam, available as waste heat from the Brayton cycle, lead to a lower water cost, which is unaffected by doubling fuel costs. On the other hand, for fossil-driven systems, fuel costs amount to a significant percentage of the total cost of electricity and there is also an associated increase in the steam cost, explaining the higher sensitivity to increased fuel costs. It is interesting also to note from the results that RO costs are lower than MED costs for both fossil and nuclear options. In the case of fossil fuel, the difference is more significant, reflecting the higher cost of steam. The RO cost advantage compared to MED, would only be challenged at much higher salinities or increasingly poor quality of the feed water.

Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339 Table 1 MED with HTGR Brayton Cycle
Main input parameters
Project Power plant data Type Ref. thermal power Ref. net electric power Construction cost Fuel cost Purchased electricity cost Interest rate Configuration Switches Steam source Intermediate loop TVC option Backup heat RO energy recovery device NBC 1570 660 1500 6 0.06 5 DEEP version 3.0 - September 2005 Water plant data Type Required capacity Hybrid Dist. capacity Dist. construction cost Maximum brine temp. Heating steam temp. Dist. feed temp. Seawater feed salinity Hybrid RO capacity RO construction cost RO recovery ratio RO energy recovery efficiency RO design flux RO feed temp. MED 100,000 N/A 900 65.0 0.0 30 35,000.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Case MED with HTGR Brayton cycle

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MW MW $/kW $/MWh $/kWh %

ExtrCon Y N N N/A

m3/d m3/d $/(m3/d) °C °C °C ppm m3/d $/(m3/d)

l/(m2 hr) °C

Performance results
Lost electricity production Power-to-heat ratio Plant thermal utilization Distillation performance # of effects/stages GOR Temperature range Distillate flow Feed flow Steam flow Brine flow Brine salinity Specific heat consumption 9 8.0 20 100,000 200,000 144.39 100,000 70,000 80.67 0.0 1.9 62.8 MW MWe/MWt % RO performance

°C m3/d m3/d kg/s m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Recovery ratio Permeate flow Feed flow Feed pressure Product quality Brine flow Brine salinity Specific power consumption

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

m3/d m3/d bar ppm m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Cost results
Specific Power Costs Fixed charge cost Fuel cost O&M cost Decommissioning cost Levelized electricity cost 0.013 0.009 0.012 0.004 0.037 $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh Specific Water Costs Fixed charge cost Heat cost Plant electricity cost Purchased electricity cost O&M cost Total specific water cost 0.348 0.000 0.095 0.000 0.138 0.581 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3

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Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339 Table 2 RO with HTGR Brayton Cycle
Main input parameters
Project Power plant data Type Ref. thermal power Ref. net electric power Construction cost Fuel cost Purchased electricity cost Interest rate Configuration switches Steam source Intermediate loop TVC option Backup heat RO Energy recovery device NBC 1570 660 1500 6 0.06 5 DEEP Version 3.0 - Sepetember 2005 Water plant data Type Required capacity Hybrid dist. capacity Dist. construction cost Maximum brine temp. Heating steam temp. Dist. feed temp. Seawater feed salinity Hybrid RO capacity RO construction cost RO recovery ratio RO energy recovery efficiency RO design flux RO feed temp. RO 100,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 35,000.0 N/A 900 0.00 0.95 13.6 30.0 Case RO with HTGR Brayton cycle

MW MW $/kW $/MWh $/kWh %

N/A Y N/A N/A PEX

m3/d m3/d $/(m3/d) °C °C °C ppm m3/d $/(m3/d)

l/(m2 hr) °C

Performance results
Lost electricity production Power-to-heat ratio Plant thermal utilization Distillation performance # of effects/stages GOR Temperature range Distillate flow Feed flow Steam flow Brine flow Brine salinity Specific heat consumption N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A MW MWe/MWt % RO performance

°C m3/d m3/d kg/s m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Recovery ratio Permeate flow Feed flow Feed pressure Product quality Brine flow Brine salinity Specific power consumption

0.42 100,000 240,000 56.1 279 140,000 60,000 2.85

m3/d m3/d bar ppm m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Cost results
Specific power costs Fixed charge cost Fuel cost O&M cost Decommissioning cost Levelized electricity cost 0.013 0.009 0.012 0.004 0.037 $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh Specific water costs Fixed charge cost Heat cost Plant electricity cost Purchased electricity cost O&M cost Total specific water cost 0.278 N/A 0.100 0.010 0.175 0.563 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3

Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339 Table 3 MED with CC
Main input parameters
Project Power plant data Type Ref. thermal power Ref. net electric power Construction cost Fuel cost Purchased electricity cost Interest rate Configuration switches Steam source Intermediate loop TVC option Backup heat RO energy recovery device CC 1200 600 700 50 0.06 5 DEEP Version 3.0 - Sepetember 2005 Water plant data Type Required capacity Hybrid dist. capacity Dist. construction cost Maximum brine temp. Heating steam temp. Dist. feed temp. Seawater feed salinity Hybrid RO capacity RO construction cost RO recovery ratio RO energy recovery efficiency RO design flux RO feed temp. MED 100,000 N/A 900 65.0 0.0 30 35,000.0 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A Case MED with CC

337

MW MW $/kW $/BOE $/kWh %

ExtrCon N/A N N N/A

m3/d m3/d $/(m3/d) °C °C °C ppm m3/d $/(m3/d)

l/(m2 hr) °C

Performance results
Lost electricity production Power-to-heat ratio Plant thermal utilization Distillation performance # of effects/stages GOR Temperature range Distillate flow Feed flow Steam flow Brine flow Brine salinity Specific heat consumption 9 8.0 20 100,000 200,000 144.39 100,000 70,000 80.67 20.0 1.7 75.5 MW MWe/MWt % RO performance

°C m3/d m3/d kg/s m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Recovery ratio Permeate flow Feed flow Feed pressure Product quality Brine flow Brine salinity Specific power consumption

N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A

m3/d m3/d bar ppm m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Cost results
Specific power costs Fixed charge cost Fuel cost O&M cost Decommissioning cost Levelized electricity cost 0.008 0.075 0.006 N/A 0.088 $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh Specific water costs Fixed charge cost Heat cost Plant electricity cost Purchased electricity cost O&M cost Total specific water cost 0.328 0.424 0.204 0.000 0.139 1.093 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3

338 Table 4 RO with CC

Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339

Main input parameters
Project Power plant data Type Ref. thermal power Ref. net electric power Construction cost Fuel cost Purchased electricity cost Interest rate Configuration switches Steam source Intermediate loop TVC option Backup heat RO energy recovery device CC 1,200 600 700 50 0.06 5 DEEP Version 3.0 - Sepetember 2005 Water plant data Type Required capacity Hybrid dist. capacity Dist. construction cost Maximum brine temp. Heating steam temp. Dist. feed temp. Seawater feed salinity Hybrid RO capacity RO construction cost RO recovery ratio RO energy recovery efficiency RO design flux RO feed temp. RO 100,000 N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A 35,000.0 N/A 900 0.00 0.95 13.6 30.0 Case RO with CC

MW MW $/kW $/BOE $/kWh %

N/A N/A N/A N/A PEX

m3/d m3/d $/(m3/d) °C °C °C ppm m3/d $/(m3/d)

l/(m2 hr) °C

Performance results
Lost electricity production Power-to-heat ratio Plant thermal utilization Distillation performance # of effects/stages GOR Temperature range Distillate flow Feed flow Steam flow Brine flow Brine salinity Specific heat consumption N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A MW MWe/MWt % RO performance

°C m3/d m3/d kg/s m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Recovery ratio Permeate flow Feed flow Feed pressure Product quality Brine flow Brine salinity Specific power consumption

0.42 100,000 240,000 56.1 279 140,000 60,000 2.85

m3/d m3/d bar ppm m3/d ppm kWh/m3

Cost results
Specific power costs Fixed charge cost Fuel cost O&M cost Decommissioning cost Levelized electricity cost 0.008 0.075 0.006 N/A 0.088 $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh $/kWh Specific water costs Fixed charge cost Heat cost Plant electricity cost Purchased electricity cost O&M cost Total specific water cost 0.278 N/A 0.224 0.019 0.175 0.696 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3 $/m3

Mabrouk Methnani / Desalination 205 (2007) 332–339 Table 5 Water production costs (@ 5% interest) Water Cost (US$/m3) Fossil fuel cost (US$/BOE) 50 CC-MED water cost 1.10 CC-RO water cost 0.70 Nuclear fuel cost 6 (US$/MWh) HTGR-MED water cost 0.58 HTGR-RO water cost 0.56 75 100 1.36 1.63 0.79 0.89 12 0.60 0.59 Fossil Fuel Cost (US$/BOE) CC-MED water cost CC-RO water cost Nuclear Fuel Cost (US$/MWh) HTGR-MED water cost HTGR-RO water cost Table 6 Water production costs (@ 8% interest) Water Cost (US$/m3) 50 1.19 0.78 6 0.70 0.66

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75 100 1.45 1.71 0.87 0.96 12 0.72 0.69

References
[1] M. Methnani, Recent Model Developments for the IAEA Desalination Economic Evaluation Programme DEEP, International Desalination Association World Congress, Singapore (Sep. 2005)

[2] M. Methnani and J. Kendall, Coupling & thermodynamic aspects of fresh water production using high-temperature gas-cooled reactors, International Desalination Association World Congress, Bahamas (Oct. 2003)

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