Chemfab Alkalies to build desalination plant in India

CHEMFAB Alkalies intends to invest US$ 6.6m in a 4,000-m3/day seawater desalination plant in Pondi-cherry, India, to overcome a water shortage problem before it can expand its caustic soda plant.

CHEMFAB Alkalies intends to invest US$ 6.6m in a 4,000-m3/day seawater desalination plant in Pondi-cherry, India, to overcome a water shortage problem before it can expand its caustic soda plant.

Chemfab produces 100 tonnes a day of caustic soda and wants to raise the capacity to 150 tonnes. Company Chairman Dr. C H Krishnamurthy Rao said that the company would initially invest around US$ 2.65m on the project, specifically in the seawater intake system and one module of a reverse osmosis (RO) plant. Eventually more RO modules would be added to increase the capacity of the desalination unit to 4,000 m3 a day.

Chemfab would need only 500 m3/day at present capacity level; however the 4,000- m3/day goal would be more economic and could meet the high demand for industrial water in water-starved Pondicherry. Dr. Rao said that the company would be able to produce water at not more than US$ 1.1 per cubic metre, about the same price as what the government charges industry. He contends that the Tamil Nadu government should facilitate the installation by the private sector of desalination plants along the coastline to solve water shortage problems.

Water could be produced more inexpensively by desalination if the Indian government would supply electricity at lower rates, Dr. Rao added. Electricity is the major variable cost in the production of water.

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