Study Examines Desalination Facility Design, Operation

April 1, 2007
Black & Veatch is leading a multinational study to evaluate optimal desalination facility design and operation for improving energy efficiency.

Black & Veatch is leading a multinational study to evaluate optimal desalination facility design and operation for improving energy efficiency. The project could benefit utilities around the world that are considering desalination of marginal water sources as an option to diversify their water supply portfolios, particularly in areas where demand is growing and freshwater resources are limited.

The project is funded by the Awwa Research Foundation (AwwaRF) and the California Energy Commission’s Public Interest Energy Research (PIER) program. The project is recommended by a Technology Roadmap developed by AwwaRF and the PIER program to address energy efficiency for water and wastewater utilities. The two organizations together have donated more than $2 million to fund projects from the Technology Roadmap.

The current project includes the collection and evaluation of data from existing desalination facilities that treat municipal wastewater for reuse, brackish groundwater and surface water, and seawater.

Recommendations will focus on facility planning, site location, water quality, design and operational issues that affect energy consumption.

“This research addresses the water-energy nexus at a time when interest in energy-intensive processes is on the rise,” said Black & Veatch Global Water Practice and Technology Leader Bruce Long.

The study will augment data collected at the Center of Excellence for Desalination in Singapore, established by Black & Veatch in early February. The decision to locate the center in Singapore was largely attributable to the tremendous interest in desalination in the

Asia-Pacific region -- especially in Singapore and Australia. The center will focus on optimizing plant performance, enhancing membrane life and keeping utilities and other stakeholders ahead of the technology curve.

The study is expected to be completed in early 2009.

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