Wave-powered desal plant ready

The state government of Kerala is firming up a water supply proposal to local people from the wave-powered desalination plant at Vizhinjam, near Thiruvananthapuram, India.

The state government of Kerala is firming up a water supply proposal to local people from the wave-powered desalination plant at Vizhinjam, near Thiruvananthapuram, India.

The Chennai-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) designed the reverse osmosis desalination plant, which was commissioned in June 2003. The plant is linked to the wave-driven power generation facility set up at the site by IIT, Chennai, in 1990.

NIOT developed the desalination plant because the caisson-based wave energy system did not generate enough power to feed into the state grid. The plant produces 10,000 litres per day. NIOT scientists explained that the plant is designed to run safely on wave energy, power from the electricity board or a diesel generator. The plant is now being run daily on wave energy or power from the electricity board, depending upon the availability of wave energy.

The desalination system consists of the existing impulse turbine, a special variable speed alternator, and a battery back-up. The battery back-up is required to keep constant power supply when wave power tapers off. Performance analysis conducted last August and September found the system to be working satisfactorily.

NIOT scientists said that research on the caisson-based wave energy system had been completed, but research would continue to develop floating plants. The NIOT will hand over operations of the desalination plant to the state government, since it is a research and development institute and cannot be responsible for supplying water to local people on a daily basis.

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