Seawater Desalination

This course is not currently scheduled for a future event

A comprehensive course on seawater desalination, taught by one of the worlds leading desalination practitioners.  Learn how a state-of-the-art Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination facility is developed, designed, constructed and operated. 

This course covers both theoretical and practical aspects of desalination technology, which focuses on selection, design and operational monitoring of desalination plants. 


Day 1:   Desalination Fundamentals

  • Overview of Desalination Technologies 
  • Alternative Desalination Technologies
    • Electrodialysis & ion exchange
    • Thermal desalination
  • Comparison of Thermal and Membrane Desalination 
  • Reverse Osmosis Fundamentals
    • RO separation � basic principles
    • Key performance and design parameters
    • RO system components
  • Planning for Seawater Desalination Plants
    • Key desalination plant components
    • How to determine plant site size and location?
    • Source water quality characterization
    • Choosing product water quality � Issues and considerations

Day 2:   Reverse Osmosis Desalination Systems � Design & Costs 

  • Seawater Intakes
    • Source water quality issues and considerations
    • Selection of intake
    • General design guidelines

  • Seawater Pretreatment
    • Sedimentation and Dissolved Air Flotation
    • Granular media filtration
    • Membrane filtration
    • Selection of pretreatment system
  • Reverse Osmosis System Configuration
    • High pressure pumps � type and applications
    • Reverse Osmosis trains � alternative configurations
    • Reverse Osmosis membrane cleaning system
    • Energy recovery systems � type and applications
    • Alternative Reverse Osmosis system configurations
    • Sizing of key components of seawater RO system
  • Desalination Plant Energy Use
    • Key energy use components & factors
    • Methods to minimize desalination plant energy use
    • Example of plant energy use breakdown

Day 3 (AM):   Reverse Osmosis Desalination Systems � Design & Costs cont..

  • Seawater Concentrate Disposal
    • Concentrate disposal alternatives
    • On-shore discharges
    • Open ocean discharges with diffuser systems
    • Subsurface discharges (wells and ex-filtration galleries)
    • Technologies for reduction of concentrate volume and beneficial reuse
    • Environmental discharge considerations
    • Guidelines for selecting and designing concentrate disposal system
  • Desalination Costs
    • Construction costs
    • O&M costs
    • Total cost of water production O&M costs
    • Example of plant cost estimate

Day 3 (PM): Guided Tour of Tugun Seawater Desalination Plant

Day 4: Advanced Desalination Plant Design and Operations

  • Desalination Plant Performance Analysis and Optimization
    • Key plant performance parameters
    • Main steps of plant performance analysis
    • Optimization of plant design and operations
  • Desalination Plant Operational Monitoring and Troubleshooting
    • Operations monitoring methods and equipment
    • Troubleshooting of pretreatment systems
    • RO system operation and troubleshooting
    • Product water testing and Quality Control
  • Desalination Plant Case Studies
    • Tampa Bay Seawater Desalination Plant, USA � Challenges and solutions
    • Ashkelon Plant, Israel � the largest and most efficient desalination operation in the world
    • Point Lisas Desalination Plant, Trinidad � Solutions for source seawater with high fouling potential


  • Access to a world leading desalination expert
  • An excellent overview of desalination technologies, applications and trends
  • Course notes and resource materials
  • Workshop sessions based on real case study material 
  • Lessons learned from several large international desalination projects
  • Australian and international case studies 
  • Practical skills and knowledge to take back to your workplace
  • Site visit to a large seawater desalination plant


Engineers, plant managers, regulators, operators and consultants who want to learn how a state-of-the-art facility is developed, designed, constructed and operated, and what environmental mitigation measures will ensure that the plant will have minimum environmental impact.

Nikolay Voutchkov