Sustainable Engineering

Water footprint of seawater desalination plants of Siemens AG

Siemens AG has been preparing life cycle assessments for its products and processes for years, analyzing various environmental impacts along the product life cycle. However, the consumption of water as a resource was not taken into account due to a lack of data and suitable assessment methods. For this reason, various methods for balancing and assessing the effects of water in the product life cycle are first researched and analyzed with regard to data availability and applicability. Based on these findings, the “water footprint” of a seawater desalination plant will be examined. This study is particularly interesting because seawater desalination plants both generate fresh water and consume water during operation. The aim is to determine “net water production” and to compare the environmental impacts resulting from water consumption and production. In addition to various desalination technologies, the influences of the salt content, the energy source used and the location are also analyzed. Siemens thereby works towards a realistic assessment of the benefits of seawater desalination plants and shows optimization potentials.

Duration July 2010 to September 2011

M. Sc. Markus Berger
Room Z 202
Phone +49 (0)30 314-25084
E-mail markus.berger(at)