Terrabon to design, construct, operate advanced vapor compression desal pilot plant in Texas

March 23, 2009
The City Council of Laredo, Texas, has approved a $1.6 million joint proposal by Terrabon, L.L.C. and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to design, construct and operate a 50,000-gallon-per-day Advanced Vapor Compression Desalination (AdVE) pilot plant, Terrabon announced today. This plant will demonstrate the commercial viability of a new desalination technology that reduces the capital and operating costs of water purification...

HOUSTON, TX, Mar. 18, 2009 -- The City Council of Laredo, Texas, has approved a $1.6 million joint proposal by Terrabon, L.L.C. and the Texas Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) to design, construct and operate a 50,000-gallon-per-day Advanced Vapor Compression Desalination (AdVE) pilot plant, Terrabon announced today. This plant will demonstrate the commercial viability of a new desalination technology that reduces the capital and operating costs of water purification. Engineering work is expected to begin in April 2009, and construction will be completed by year end.

The project is designed to provide fresh water for the residents of Laredo, which is located in the semi-arid area on the Texas-Mexico border. Laredo is near the limit for water that can be drawn from the Rio Grande River and ground water in the area is either brackish or salty.

"The development of this pilot project is one step in securing and providing water in the future, not only for Laredo, but for the entire state of Texas," said Laredo City Council Member Gene Belmares.

AdVE was developed as a by-product of Terrabon's MixAlco technology, an advanced bio-refining process that converts low-cost non-food biomass into biofuels. Both technologies were developed by Mark Holtzapple, a professor in Texas A&M University's Artie McFerrin Department of Chemical Engineering. The AdVE and MixAlco technologies are licensed exclusively to Terrabon by Texas A&M University.

AdVE uses low-cost, high capacity, high efficiency compressors and engines and non-fouling heat exchangers to desalinate brackish and salty water. The process operates at higher pressures than traditional reverse osmosis technology and is significantly less expensive to build and operate.

Once constructed, the pilot plant will be operated by American Water Company's subsidiary, Applied Water Management Inc., acting as a subcontractor to Terrabon. TEES and The Center for Applied Technology (TCAT), a center within TEES, will act as the technology integrator and analyst for the project.

"We applaud the City of Laredo for their vision in bringing AdVE into mainstream use," said Gary W. Luce, chairman and CEO of Terrabon. "The world's need for safe, clean water is becoming increasingly urgent and the potential for this technology around the globe is enormous. We are excited about our partnership with the City of Laredo and TEES and look forward to working together to implement this cost-effective solution."

Terrabon, L.L.C. was formed in 1995 to commercialize three technologies that share the same suite of patented intellectual property developed at Texas A&M University.

###