Desalination system helps thwart drought in Marshall Islands
A Spectra desalination plant established on Utrik, an atoll in the Marshall Islands, is thwarting the effects of a yearlong, region-wide drought.
In May 2010, Tom Vance of Moana Marine LLC installed two Spectra LB-1800 reverse osmosis (RO) desalination systems -- the region's first permanent solar and wind-powered water desalination technology -- that convert seawater into 3,600 gallons per day of clean, fresh, EPA-approved drinking water. Without the water from the desalination systems, life may be impossible for Utrik's 485 residents.
A typical desalinating plant of this size would be powered by a diesel generator, but outer-island fuel prices have averaged $8 to $10 per gallon, which would entail $30,000 to $75,000 per year in fuel costs. Accordingly, the fuel expense with the Spectra units is zero, and the installation has paid for itself in fuel savings alone.
Fuel prices are now soaring to $15 per gallon, and the supply is unreliable. The only way to ensure consistent, affordable water on a remote island is with alternative energy and RO desalination systems. As such, Spectra uses proprietary energy-recovery pumps, making their systems energy-efficient, and therefore ideal for solar and wind-powered installations. With more drought and water crises predicted for the area, Utrik remains a model for drought preparedness and safe, sustainable water production in the Pacific Island region.
About Spectra Watermakers
Spectra Watermakers (San Rafael, California) is a longtime leader in energy-efficient, small scale (150 to 10,000 gallon per day) desalination systems with built-in energy recovery for marine and land applications. Spectra's land-based product line includes solar and wind-powered desalination units for military, disaster relief, village water supplies, small eco-resorts, and remote home applications. Spectra products are sold and serviced through a worldwide network of distributors. For more information, visit