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Greenpeace Comments on Elon Musk's Desalination Statement at WWF Bali

Editor

Laila Afifa

23 May 2024 18:21 WIB

TEMPO.CO, JakartaGreenpeace Indonesia Climate and Energy Campaigner, Hadi Priyanto, commented on the statement made by SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on the potential of solar power (PLTS) that could contribute to new renewable energy in seawater desalination. Desalination is the process of removing salt, especially from seawater, so that it can be used for drinking.

According to Hadi, the Tesla CEO's idea is in line with Greenpeace's ongoing research. Hadi said that the energy conversion produced by PLTS for desalination is highly effective as the constant solar energy becomes an important factor in operating the desalination machine. "But the effectiveness of the desalination machine needs further study," he said in a written statement on Tuesday, May 22.

The technology used also plays an important role in desalination. The capacity of the machine and the technology used will determine the cost. "The larger the amount of water that is successfully desalinated, the more expensive the technology will be," Hadi said.

He explained that seawater desalination could be the answer to the problems of small islands and coastal areas that have begun to sink due to rising sea levels. Greenpeace, Hadi said, often finds the scarcity of fresh water and access to clean water. "The idea of desalinating seawater is the most viable option to meet their freshwater needs," he said.

However, Hadi did not deny the potential for environmental damage from the project. For example, electronic and metal waste from the solar power plant could pose a threat if it is built near coastal waters. "The corrosive salt water will cause all the metal equipment to rust and break down faster, so it will become waste faster," he said.

The solution is to use materials that are more resistant to corrosion. He also mentioned the potential for conflict among the people that could stop the project.

In contrast to Greenpeace's view, Muhammad Jamil, head of the legal department of the Mining Advocacy Network (Jatam), criticized Elon Musk's idea. According to Jamil, the desalination process with PLTS will increase the demand for mining products, which will further damage the environment. He said that some of the materials used for PLTS require continuous mining exploration. "In the future, there will be more and more natural springs in the forest. In fact, so far the condition has been in ruins," he said.

Elon Musk previously said that solar power plants (PLTS) could be a solution to the global water availability crisis. Although it still requires extensive research, Elon explained that solar power plants have the potential to provide cheaper and more effective new renewable energy for the seawater desalination process to provide clean water.

"We continue to make breakthroughs in desalination efficiency and I think we have done it," he said. "We have a good water future and I think a good sustainable energy future is also ahead of us," the Tesla Inc. and SpaceX owner and CEO said in his opening remarks at the 10th World Water Forum in Nusa Dua, Bali, on Monday, May 20.

SAVERO ARISTIA WIENANTO | GRACE GANDHI

Editor's Choice: Elon Musk at World Water Forum: We Are Making Breakthroughs in Desalination Efficiency

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