What is the carbon footprint of reverse osmosis in water treatment plants? A systematic review protocol


“Carbon footprint” (CF) is a direct measure of greenhouse gas emissions caused by a defined activity and can demonstrate global warming effects. The emissions of Greenhouse gases (GHGs) in water projects start from the primary water sources, followed by transportation, construction, and operation phases in the final treatment plants. Due to their possible environmental impacts, the water treatment plants equipped with Reverse Osmosis (RO) units will be investigated for their carbon footprint.


The research question is “What is the carbon footprint of reverse osmosis in water treatment plants?”. The literature search in this study will be divided into two sequential sections; in the first section, the search will be limited to Scopus, Science Direct, EMBASE, and PubMed databases. The keywords of water, “water treatment plants”, “water purification”, desalination, “reverse osmosis”, RO, “carbon emission”, “carbon dioxide/CO2 emission”, “carbon footprint”, “Life Cycle Assessment” and, LCA will be used. The carbon footprint of RO will be expressed based on the direct and indirect effects based on RO capacity. In the second section, the internet and specialist search will be done, and the search will be updated. No date limitation will be considered, and the main search will be done in English. When the search is completed, the screening will be performed. After removing duplicates, the title and abstract will be examined. The full text will be read if the title and abstract are not helpful for decision-making. In addition, the bibliography and references will proceed after the full-text screening. The Collaboration for Environmental Evidence (CEE) Critical Appraisal Tool will be used for risk of bias checking and study validity assessment. After full-text evaluation, data will be collected and categorized by two authors. If there is enough data, meta-analysis will be performed.



Water, Water treatment plant, Reverse osmosis, Desalination, Carbon footprint, CO2 emission

In Progress