The emerging role of 3D printing in water desalination

Abdullah Khalil, Farah Ejaz Ahmed, Nidal Hilal

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Unmatched flexibility in terms of material selection, design and scalability, along with gradually decreasing cost, has led 3D printing to gain significant attention in various water treatment and desalination applications. In desalination, 3D printing has been applied to improve the energy efficiency of existing technologies. For thermal desalination, this involves the use of 3D printed components that enhance water evaporation and energy harvesting with new materials and designs. For membrane-based desalination, 3D printing offers membranes and other module components with customized materials and geometries for better fouling resistance and productivity. This review highlights the current status, advances and challenges associated with 3D printing in both thermal and membrane-based desalination technologies. Other unique benefits offered by 3D printing for water desalination along with the associated challenges are also discussed in this review. Finally, the future prospects and research directions are highlighted related to the application of 3D printing in the water desalination industry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number148238
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Oct 10 2021


  • 3D printing
  • Energy harvesting
  • Membrane patterning
  • Module design
  • Water desalination

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Engineering
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Waste Management and Disposal
  • Pollution


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