American Water, partners to launch project on innovation in desalination technology

VOORHEES, NJ, Oct. 2, 2009 -- American Water Works Company Inc. is working in cooperation with Netherlands entities to launch a project on innovation in desalination technology...

VOORHEES, NJ, Oct. 2, 2009 -- American Water Works Company Inc., the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company, announced today that it is working in cooperation with Netherlands entities Vitens, RWB Waterservices, University of Twente, and WE Consult to launch a project on innovation in desalination technology. The "Clean Operator" project is co-funded by subsidiary SenterNovem and aims to reduce the costs, environmental impact and carbon footprint of desalination.

In the Clean Operator project, the partners will develop new technologies for seawater desalination and the treatment of surface water and wastewater using Reverse Osmosis membranes.

"Many desalination plants suffer from membrane fouling, and in some cases the membranes need frequent chemical cleaning, which increases operational costs and the emission of waste chemicals and carbon dioxide to the environment," said Dr. Mark LeChevallier, Director of Innovation and Environmental Stewardship. "The goal of the Clean Operator project is to reduce operational costs through a sustainable operation resulting in cleaner membranes."

With a budget of €1.5-2 million for 2009-2011, the project will deliver operational technology for use in existing and new membrane plants. The fundamental research will be performed by the University of Twente, assisted by Vitens and WE Consult. RWB Waterservices and WE Consult will focus on the development of the new technology, while Vitens and American Water will concentrate on applying the technology in their water treatment plants.

This project is the first official partnership in American Water's new Innovation Development Process. The Innovation Development Process is an initiative that leverages the company's position and expertise as the nation's largest water and wastewater services provider to develop, test and produce new technologies for industry use. It combines American Water's research and development, technical expertise, and infrastructure assets with innovations from within the company and from business partners to create greater efficiencies in the areas of water reuse, desalination, wastewater operations and bio-energy.

Founded in 1886, American Water is the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company. With headquarters in Voorhees, N.J., the company employs more than 7,000 dedicated professionals who provide drinking water, wastewater and other related services to approximately 15 million people in 32 states and Ontario, Canada. More information can be found by visiting

About the Partners
Vitens is the largest water supply company in the Netherlands, supplying excellent quality drinking water to 5.4 million consumers and businesses. The University of Twente is a leading university on research in membrane filtration with outstanding knowledge in module hydraulics and membrane preparation. RWB Waterservices is a Dutch supplier of various types of water treatment equipment for wastewater treatment, industrial water supply and potable water supply. WE Consult is a consultancy firm in the Netherlands with a strong profile on innovation and development of new water technology.


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