Dilution of brine discharges from seawater desalination in coastal water bodies


Driven by water security, freshwater production by seawater desalination technologies has become popular in coastal cities around the globe. As a by-product of the desalination process,  a concentrated brine solution must be disposed of into nearby coastal water bodies. The discharge often takes the form of negatively-buoyant, high-speed turbulent jets released from a diffuser manifold located on the seafloor. The amount of mixing between these jets and the ambient seawater determines whether regulatory standards on salt concentration and temperature will be met at the end of mixing zone.

A comprehensive Froude-scaling (Fr-) experimental campaign was carried out in a shallow water basin for a range of jet discharge angles, discharge volume fluxes and ambient crossflow conditions.  The focus were three-fold: (1) to determine the optimal range of discharge angles for a given volume flux; (2) to measure dilution in dense jets with 3D-trajectories (a typical configuration in coastal discharges) and (3) to develop a predictive numerical model that can handle the near-far field transition of the discharge.

Choi, K.W., Lai, C.C.K. and Lee, J.H.W. (2015). Mixing in the intermediate field of dense jets in cross currents, Journal of Hydraulic Engineering, ASCE, 142(1).

Lai, C.C.K. and Lee, J.H.W. (2014). Initial mixing of inclined dense jets in perpendicular crossflowEnvironmental Fluid Mechanics, 14(1):25-49.

Lai, C.C.K. and Lee, J.H.W. (2012). Mixing of inclined dense jets in stationary ambient, Journal of Hydro-environment Research, 6(1):9-28.

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