Desalination R&D project completed by Siemens, sets new benchmark on low-energy seawater desalination

Sponsored by
A Siemens R&D engineer examines a state-of-the-art seawater desalination prototype in Singapore. Photo: Siemens AG

SINGAPORE, July 5, 2011 -- A Siemens research and development initiative has shown that a new desalination process reduces desalting energy by over 50% compared to best available technology.

The research was conducted at a demonstration plant built in Singapore to treat seawater to drinking water quality. Since December 2010, the Siemens demonstration unit has been treating 50 m³ of seawater per day at a PUB facility in Singapore.

The project goal was to produce World Health Organization standard drinking water quality from seawater, at the same time cutting energy consumption by half compared to current technologies. Instead of using reverse osmosis, which requires high-pressure pumps to force water through semi-permeable membranes, the Siemens engineers turned to electrochemical desalination. The process combines electrodialysis (ED) and continuous electrodeionization (CEDI), both applying an electric field to draw sodium and chloride ions across ion exchange membranes and out of the water. As the water itself does not have to pass through the membranes, the process can be run at low pressure, and hence low power consumption.

The seawater is pre-treated with a self-cleaning disk filter, followed by Memcor ultrafiltration modules. The pilot desalination plant is composed of three ED units arranged in series to handle high concentrations of salt. They are followed by three CEDI units assembled in a parallel flow configuration to remove smaller amounts of salt.

The energy demand of the whole process including pumping, pre-treatment, desalting, and post-treatment is less than half of what is used by the best available seawater desalination technologies today, which is typically between 3.4 and 4.8 kWh/m³. Besides the energy savings, other advantages are low vibration and noise levels, improved safety, and only minimal pre- and post-treatment.

Siemens said it is now poised to transition this new technology to the product development phase. The next step will be to set up a full-scale system in cooperation with Singapore's national water agency PUB by 2013.

###

Sponsored by

TODAY'S HEADLINES

CSSD expands performance standard to address treatment of shale wastewater

The Center for Sustainable Shale Development announced that it has expanded its wastewater Performance Standard 1 to address the treatment of shale wastewater at permitted facilities.

Water Council announces Round III of The Brew accelerator program

The BREW, a first-of-its-kind place-based global seed accelerator for water technology startups led by The Water Council, has announced that it is launching Round III of the program.  

Siemens to supply turbines for MI combined-cycled power plant project

Siemens has announced that it is supplying two gas turbines and one steam turbine for the Holland Energy Park combined-cycle power plant, to be constructed in the city of Holland, Mich.

CA city deploys smart water software for improved decision support, capital planning

In an effort to prioritize main replacement, coordinate outage response, pinpoint capacity deficiencies, and identify optimal flushing locations in the city of Santa Ana, Calif., the Santa Ana Public Works Agency is adopting Sedaru smart water enterprise software from IDModeling, Inc.

FOLLOW US ON SOCIAL MEDIA