So I was recently watching this video regarding desalination efforts around the world and the viability of desalination as a means to provide humans with freshwater. I had a few questions:
1 - They mention that the brine that is released as a byproduct of the process is potentially harmful to marine life, so why not just dump it in the desert? Why do we need to release back in the ocean? I'm sure the effects of this won't be that big given that desalination is a tiny percentage of the world's water production. And if anything, given that global sea levels are rising, this might help things, right?
2 - The video states that the vast majority of desalination plants these days use reverse osmosis desalination and not heat-based methods. Why is that so? How is a process that requires energy better than using solar energy to evaporate the water?
Heat-based methods require energy from the sun, yes. But the way I imagine things, we can passively let in water from the ocean, put it under some glass panel that magnifies sun energy, and then let the water evaporate out through some piping to condense somewhere else. How is powering a pump through a membrane (that requires cleaning after) better?
A lot of these thoughts are just me thinking out loud with no data to back me up because honestly, I wouldn't know what to look up regarding things like this. I'd love some science-based replies to this! I'm definitely missing something big.