Types of Desalination

Multi-stage Flash
Multi-effect Distillation
Vapor Compression Distillation

Reverse Osmosis
Electrodialysis Reversal

Middle East Desalination

Huntington Beach Proposal

Sources Cited

About This Website

This website outlines various methods of desalination, their operation, costs, ecological impacts, and benefits as well as drawbacks.  While there are other types not listed here such as solar humidification, the focus of this website is on the most common currently (December 2005) used desalination for drinking water purposes.  Desalination which occurs naturally in the environment and artificially in research labs merits a separate compilation of information and as such is not discussed in this website.


Here is a breakdown of the common types of desalination used:

44% Multi-stage Flash

42% Reverse Osmosis

6% Electrodialysis (and reversal)

4% Multi-effect Distillation

4% Vapor Compression Distillation

(Wangnick 1998)


Click the links located on the left to access information about each common type of desalination as well as regional analyses of desalination.




 Wangnick, Klaus. "1998 IDA Worldwide Desalting Plants Inventory Report No. 15."  Produced by Wangnick Consulting for International Desalination Association. 1998.