American Journal of Energy Research
ISSN (Print): 2328-7349 ISSN (Online): 2328-7330 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Energy Research. 2013, 1(2), 25-32
DOI: 10.12691/ajer-1-2-1
Open AccessReview Article

Thermal Solar Desalination Technologies for Small-Scale Irrigation

M.T Chaibi1,

1National Research Institute for Rural Engineering Water and Forestry, Ariana, Tunisia

Pub. Date: April 09, 2013

Cite this paper:
M.T Chaibi. Thermal Solar Desalination Technologies for Small-Scale Irrigation. American Journal of Energy Research. 2013; 1(2):25-32. doi: 10.12691/ajer-1-2-1


Water challenge in arid countries is considered one of most critical challenges facing agriculture and food systems, and is expected to grow with time. This is due mainly to the scarcity and rapid depletion of freshwater resources, and the increasing groundwater salinity. Nevertheless, these countries have generally a great solar energy potential. This potential can be best developed by solar desalination concepts and methods specifically suited for rural water supply, including small-scale irrigation, and also the protection of available water resources against overuse and pollution. The present study is concerned with the performance review of solar desalination systems that could be applied for agriculture applications in rural arid areas. Direct and indirect solar desalination technologies of solar energy based system concepts for irrigation water desalination are described and analyzed. Attempts are reported to propose precepts upon which a strategy can be formulated for introducing desalination technology for irrigation.

arid areas desalination agriculture irrigation solar energy

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 7


[1]  Ad hoc panel on promising technologies for arid land water development, More water for arid lands, National Academy of Sciences- National research council, Washington, 1973, 73-135.
[2]  Gischler, C.E, Water resources in the Arab Middle East and North Africa, ENAS Middle East & North African studies Press Ltd., 1979.
[3]  Tinaut, D., Echaniz, G. and Ramos, F., “Materials for a solar still greenhouse. Optica Pura Applicada, 11, 59-61, 1978.
[4]  Sodha, M.S., Kumar, A., Srivastava, A. and Tiwari, G.N., “Thermal performance of solar still on roof system,” Energy Conversion and management, 20 (3), 181-190, 1980.
[5]  Luft, W. and Froechtenigt, J., “Solar energy controlled environment agriculture in the United States and Saudi Arabia”. SERI/TP-270- 1465 1981.
[6]  Malik, M.A.S., Tiwari, G.N., Kumar, A. and Sodha, M.S., Solar distillation: A practical study of a wide range of stills and their optimum design, construction and performance, First edition. Pergamon press Ltd. Oxford, England, 100-109, 1996,
[7]  Kudish, A.I. and Gale, J.. “Solar desalination in conjunction with controlled environmental agriculture in arid zones,” Energy Conversion and Management, 26 (2), 201-207, 1986
[8]  Tiwari, G.N., Sinha, S., Saxena, P. and Kumar, S. “Review of solar distiller in other thermal applications” International Journal Solar Energy, 13, 135-144, 1992.
[9]  Abou Hadid, A., Batanouny K.H., Jabarine, A.S. and Kader A.A. Proposal for expanding the crop mandate of ICARDA to include horticultural crops,. Report ICARDA 07/250/ April, 2004.
[10]  Tyler Miller.G, Jr., Environmental science, Third edition Wadsworth publishing company Belmont, California, A division of wadsworth, Inc., Chap 11, 236-239, 1991.
[11]  Horchani, A.. “Shortage of water: a fundamental problem in arid and semi-arid areas,” Proceedings water resources in the next century, Stockholm water symposium, 31-36, 1991.
[12]  Wolter, H.W and Kandiah, A., “Harnessing water to feed a hungry world”, 16th congress on irrigation and drainage, volume 1H, 2-22, 1996.
[13]  Tanji, K.K. and Enos, C.A.. Global Water Resources and Agricultural Use. In: Management of Water Use in Agriculture, Eds:K.K. Tanji and B. Yaron, Springer-Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany, Chapter 1, .3-24. 1994.
[14]  Tabor, H., “Solar desalination: a technology for peaceSun World, .21. 20-22, 1997.
[15]  Trombe, F. and Foex, M., “Utilisation of solar still energy for simultaneous distillation of brackish water and air conditioning of hot houses in arid regions” U.N. Conf. On new sources of energy, Paper 35/S/64 Revised, Rome: 11p. 1961.
[16]  Bettaque, R..Vefahren “zum Betreiben von Gewachshausern mit salzwasser” Der Tropenlandwirt, Beiheft 10, Witzenhausser Hochschulwoche, 1977.
[17]  Selsuk, M.K. and Tran,V.V., “Solar stills for agriculture purposes.,” Solar energy., 17. 103-109, 1975.
[18]  Kudish, A.I., Water desalination; Solar energy in Agriculture, B.F.parker. Elsevier Science Publishers B.V., Netherlands., 1991.
[19]  Selsuk, M.K. and Tran,V.V, “ An overview of solar still greenhouse performance and optimal design studies”, Conf. on heliothermique and development, 2, 349, 1975.
[20]  Strauch, K.H., “A closed system greenhouse with integrated solar desalination for arid regions” Acta Horticulturae, 170, 29-36, 1985.
[21]  Dument, M. and de Cachard, M., A greenhouse with solar distillation” Plasticulture, 61. 11-24, 1984.
[22]  Chaibi, M.T. and T. Jilar.T., “System design, operation and performance of roof integrated desalination in greenhouses” Solar Energy Journal, 76 (5), 545-561, 2004.
[23]  Fatih, H.E.S., “Transient analysis of naturally ventilated greenhouse with built-in solar still and waste heat and mass recovery system,” Energy conservation and management, .35(11). 955-965. 1994.
[24]  Hassan, M.S., Toyoma,S., Murase,K. and Wahhab, M.A., “Multi-effect solar still for agricultural purposes in hot climate” Desalination, 71. 347-353. 1989.
[25]  Widegren, M. “Condensation irrigation, desalination irrigation system”, Master thesis 1986:002E, Lulea University of technology, Sweden. 1986.
[26]  Nordell, B., “Design of climate system for greenhouse in the north of Sweden”, Report Lulea University of Technology, Sweden. 1987.
[27]  Ruess, K. and Federer, H., “Using sea water for irrigation” The Agricultural Engineer, 45 (4). 116-117. 1990.
[28]  Gustafsson, AM. and Lindblom, J. “Underground condensation of humid air – a solar driven system for irrigation and drinking water production”, Master thesis 2001: 140 CIV. Lulea University of Technology, Sweden, 2001.
[29]  Nordell, B. and Lindblom, J., “water production by underground condensation of humid air”, Desalination Journal, 189. 248-260. 2006.
[30]  Zaragoza G, Buchholz M, Jochum P, Pérez-Parra J “Watergy project: towards a rational use of water in greenhouse agriculture and sustainable architecture,” Desalination ,211. 296-303, 2007.
[31]  Chaibi, M.T., Saffi, M.J. and Hsairi, M., “Performance analysis of solar desalting unit in south Tunisia”, Desalination Journal, 82. 197-205. 1991.
[32]  Ben Bacha, A.Y., Maalej, A.F., Ben Dhia, H.,Ulber, I., Uchtmann, H., Engelhardt, M. and Krelle, J., “Perspectives of solar powered desalination with "SMCEC" technique,” Desalination Journal, 122. 177-183. 1988.