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Water Technologies & Solutions

technical paper

seawater reverse osmosis plants in the caribbean
recover energy and brine and reduce costs
Authors: Shawn Meyer-Steele, Antonia von Gottberg
and Jose Luis Talavera Seawater Desalination Costs
The next challenge comes in applying the technology
introduction as efficiently and as cost effectively as possible. The
costs in seawater desalination have been reduced
With continued population growth and an overall greatly over the last twenty years, most notably
expansion in tourism over the last few decades, a through the advances in reverse osmosis (RO) as
heavy burden has been placed upon the natural shown in Figure 1. In 1978, the cost to produce 1,000
resources of the Caribbean. Water, essential for life U.S. gallons (4 m ) of potable water from seawater in a

itself, is one of the resources most drastically large desalination facility was over US$20. Today, the
affected, whether by over-pumping of the natural cost has decreased by a factor of six, to less than US$3
source that has sustained island nations for centuries, per 1,000 U.S. gallons (4 m ) today.

or the inadvertent contamination of sources through
development. One of the challenges for the people of
the Caribbean and their governments has been to
manage and sustain this natural resource. Most of the
Caribbean, built over the millennia through the
natural growth of coral reefs or volcanic eruption,
does not typically have sufficient natural reservoirs,
aquifers, and rain recharge that larger landmasses
The Caribbean - and the rest of the world - faces the
unmistakable irony that, although the world’s major
surface component is made up principally of water,
there is “water, water, everywhere and not a drop to
drink.” The salinity of human blood is almost equal to Figure 1: Cost of Water Produced by Seawater RO 1978-1998
that of the oceans, possibly hinting at our humble
In the Caribbean, and in most of the world, (except
beginnings, but we would perish more quickly
where large amounts of waste heat from true co-
drinking seawater than drinking nothing at all.
generation facilities are available) reverse osmosis
So, we turn back to the ocean, but this time we do so has proven to be, by far, the most cost-effective
with a twist. Advances in technology allow us the technology for seawater desalination. 1

small miracle, that we mimic from nature, of
RO is a pressure-driven process by which salt can be
removing enough of the salt from the seawater to be
removed from seawater. If a solution containing salts
able to produce clean, safe, drinking water. The
is placed on one side of a semi-permeable membrane,
supply seemingly inexhaustible at first glance, it
with a more dilute solution on the other side, water
might appear that our problems are solved. But to
will be forced by natural osmosis through the
accomplish this remarkable alchemy requires energy,
membrane from the more dilute to the concentrated
and energy in the Caribbean, primarily imported, is a
side in an attempt to reach equilibrium. Reverse
more dear and precious commodity than the water it
osmosis utilizes external pressure to overcome the
is required to produce.
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TP1029EN.docx Mar-08

docx . sedimentation. Page 2 TP1029EN. the capital cost is higher than with chemical systems. A cartridge filter consists The seawater must be treated before it reaches the of a filter housing and filter elements mounted to tube RO unit to remove suspended solids. fencing. and forces water through a The suspended solids are removed from the water semipermeable membrane from the more into the filtering media by a combination of concentrated to the less concentrated side. The site as a whole generally includes: Seawater Reverse Osmosis Unit • The plant building The core desalination operation is reverse osmosis. withstand. and auxiliary • Wastewater collection and discharge system systems for cleaning and chemical addition. pretreatment. a feed Cartridge Filtration pump will convey feed water to the pretreatment Water is conveyed to the cartridge filters from the system. electrical and traditional media filters.natural osmotic pressure. there has been much interest in the osmosis (SWRO) plant includes several major blocks. from a seawater intake or beach wells located as near the plant site as is possible. feedwater ultrafiltration systems (UF) as pretreatment for SWRO supply. an RO feed pump. given appropriate pretreatment. fluctuations in feed water quality.A. From the intake. rate consistent with the overall plant design.000 m /day 3 (2. Figure 2: Typical SWRO Plant Feed Water Supply Feed water to the desalination system is collected Figure 3: SWRO Unit. and shows a photograph of a 3. mechanisms including straining. typically Pretreatment down to five microns in size. SWRO unit. an energy • Production reservoir recovery device. Aqualectra. N.000 gpd) size. Site and Building Filtered water then flows to the reverse osmosis unit. but the space requirement is control system. application of back-washable. and RO is chosen for many desalination applications today adsorption. supports. Netherland Antilles before expansion to its present 10.690. media filters. Typically. the RO. Figure 3 • The site including civil works. Water enters the housing and flows through multimedia filters are used to effectively remove the filter elements. The filters are designed to operate at a loading in the fine fibers of the filter.000 gpd) 3 landscaping SWRO plant at Aqualectra. The section below discusses each of smaller and UF provides higher quality feedwater to these areas in more detail. post treatment. The cartridge filter system is used to remove fine suspended matter from water. instrumentation. interception. The suspended solids are trapped solids.000m /day (792. Curaçao. hollow-fiber as shown in Figure 2: the site and building. Curaçao. paving. A seawater reverse Recently. Today. an RO membrane unit. A majority of the suspended material in because of its proven ability to produce high quality the raw seawater is removed during this first filtration water in an energy efficient manner with the ability to step. flocculation. impaction. Ongoing work in this area may soon provide a reduction in the cost of seawater desalination. • Outdoor chemical storage area The process elements of a typical desalination unit are cartridge filters. systems.

The chemical systems supplied depend includes a single pass of treatment in one stage. This pipe is also used for disposal of wastewater feed water sweeping along the membrane surface and such as filter backwash. upon the nature of the chemical used but generally consist of a chemical storage tank of suitable capacity Permeate from the RO system flows to the post. precipitates foul them. two chemical dosing pumps (main and system flows through the energy recovery device and standby) and interconnecting piping. In the case of seawater. In a adjustment and remineralization. the product water is incoming seawater as desalted product. pumping energy. Concentrate (reject) from the RO consideration. energy requirements. as product with 40% returned to the sea. remaining approximately 60% of the incoming water is concentrated by the salts rejected from the product Chemical Systems and is returned to the sea. each is then discharged back to the sea. Energy Recovery Instrumentation The pressure required for RO treatment is provided by Instrumentation characteristically includes: pressure a high-pressure pump. a pump to recirculate the cleaning chemicals through the RO membranes. The system used to affect this cleaning (referred to as the Clean-In-Place. and flow energy from the pressurized RO concentrate leaving indicators and transmitters. Sodium hypochlorite typical one-stage SWRO system. The delivered to a production reservoir. Post Treatment Post-treatment of the RO permeate is needed to create a Figure 4: RO Membrane Element potable water that is properly adjusted for storage and SWRO plants typically employ spiral-wound.Reverse Osmosis Concentrate Discharge In reverse osmosis. TP1029EN. An illustration of an RO clean RO membrane elements if suspended solids or membrane element is shown in Figure 4. thin-film distribution. Two-stage SWRO recovers The water treatment plant can require the addition of approximately 60% of the incoming seawater as chemicals at certain points throughout the system. Because of the relatively high gauges. and equipped with an energy recovery device that recovers transmitters. conductivity indicators. level indicators and switches.docx Page 3 . water under pressure is forced Concentrate from the RO system is discharged back across a membrane element with a portion of the feed to the sea through a reject pipeline or through a deep permeating the membrane and the balance of the well. The RO system water source. In addition. indicated in the descriptions given in this section. and material of construction for the chemical under treatment system. the membrane will freely pass Clean-In-Place System water but will reject most of the dissolved minerals as A membrane cleaning system is normally provided to well as any small particles. After post-treatment. temperature indicators. or CIP procedure) consists of: a chemical tank. The system is normally the system. A calcium carbonate filter and/or caustic composite polyamide membrane elements to soda addition systems are typically provided for pH separate dissolved salts from the seawater. the process can and/or UV sterilization are used for disinfection of the convert. exiting without passing through the membrane. most SWRO systems are and transmitters. a cartridge filter to remove any solid contaminants or scale which is removed from the vessels and/or piping. pressure switches. Cleaning procedures are undertaken when operating pressures or RO permeate production falls outside normal operating limits.50% of the initial may be collected at various locations in the process. The energy recovery system typically equipped with sample ports so that water samples recaptures anywhere from 20 . system will be supplied with a mixer if necessary. or “recover” approximately 40% of the final product. The The high pressure required for RO treatment is chemicals used in the plant vary depending on the provided by a high-pressure pump.

piping. and the work or pressure exchanger. For typical single-pass. system. Also. Three aspects of the desalting plant. and whether or not to use a brine conversion turbocharger is generally used on smaller units. Pelton wheel. monitor single-stage seawater desalination. A energy recovery devices). Through new membrane elements and pressure energy recovery. Through new membrane chemistries that allowed increases the pressure of the RO feed and thus for the same salt rejection with lower feed reduces the external energy requirement for the RO pressure. where advances seen in RO cost reduction over the last 20 the RO concentrate is used to turn a turbine that is years in Figure 1 came about on five different fronts: coupled to a pump section with its impeller on the 1. This is • Control panels. one can minimize the overall life-cycle costs of producing desalted water. such as When designing a SWRO system today. In this paper. By optimizing the system for local conditions. The waste stream is pressurized so it can the basic trains too large. data collection. Through larger basic RO units (trains) that provide some cost reduction through economies of scale for key components such as pumps. there have been it requires little maintenance. alarm messages. the concentrate performance.docx . the operating status. The energy transfer from the RO concentrate to the RO feed through the turbo-charger 2. It will provide plant- of the most successful are the turbocharger. The fifth front is very project be disposed of without repumping being required. and automatic regulation of the plant equipment. must decide what kind of energy recovery device to has a potentially large impact on performance. Through the use of energy recovery devices turbine shaft. flow deviations with respect to the design point. whereby each side lends its own expertise and ability to lower the capital and Figure 5: Process Flow Diagram—Turbocharger operating costs to the project Since the turbocharger is a highspeed rotary machine While the fourth front is valid. It is compact in size and industry-wide “growing pains” resulting from making low weight. however. instrument panels primarily accomplished by reducing the power • Programmable control devices consumption of the high-pressure pump by capturing and returning the energy in the concentrate stream The control system typically provides for complete (which was waste energy before the development of automatic operation of the desalination system. Turbocharger Advances in SWRO The turbocharger has been successfully used for 5 SWRO energy recovery since 1989. Figure 5 illustrates the process flow diagram lower operating costs (PFD) of a typical RO system using a turbocharger for 3. the engineer temperature fluctuation or change in water recovery. The use.Electrical and Control System energy recovery devices • The power and control system normally includes: There are a number of devices available commercially • Power distribution components that are capable of reducing the unit power consumption of reverse osmosis units. The specific. which requires less energy and hence feed. due to high viscous losses in the device. we will limit our focus to the nominal efficiency of the device is quite low. Page 4 TP1029EN. and hence higher salinities at similar salt rejection rates 4. first three areas. Through the establishment of relationships with municipalities. central control system will control. protective shutdowns. and pressure vessels 5. vessels that allow operation at higher pressures. The turbocharger The developments that account for most of the essentially acts like a reverse running pump. and record operating data for all pressure can be from 55 to 65 bar (800-950 psi).

Since the discharge from a Pelton wheel is at Figure 8: Work Exchanger.Pelton Wheel from the concentrate to the feed rather than through rotating machinery. Figure 8 shows a accounting for about 80% of energy recovery devices photograph of a work exchanger at a 26. Figure 7 illustrates the PFD of a typical RO features of the three energy recovery devices system using a work exchanger for energy recovery. marketed as having the same type of efficiencies but Government in 1980. PEI has introduced a smaller version of a work exchanger (the Pressure exchanger) built on a principle Work Exchangers similar to the Dyprex with fewer moving parts. either the waste must be able to drain by gravity. There are a number of similar has not been adequately proven in long-term operation products on the market. Note that the capital cost refers to Since the work exchanger directly transfers energy only the capital cost of the energy recovery device. A nozzle valve is used to direct a jet of high-pressure RO concentrate onto the bucket type blades of the Pelton wheel . By coupling the shaft of the Pelton wheel to a motor or pump. A high.400 m /day 3 fitted to SWRO plants over 1 mgd capacity. markets their version of the work exchanger under Comparison of Energy Recovery Devices the name “Dyprex”. maintenance The remaining RO feed is pumped by a high-pressure requirements and capital cost.V. The 3 kinetic energy of the jet is converted into rotating mechanical energy.I. and prototype machines were based on standard although adding units in parallel can increase hydroelectric turbine hydraulics. the capital cost is high for large plants. the work exchanger is limited in size. TP1029EN. Figure 7: Process Flow Diagram—Work Exchanger Figure 6: Process Flow Diagram—Pelton Wheel Pelton wheels are reliable and easy to maintain. or else it has to be repumped. device for a given application. it has higher efficiency in Pelton wheel technology was first evaluated for 2 comparison to the Pelton wheel and turbocharger. 4 Typical device efficiency ranges between 84 and 90%. energy recovery almost 20 years ago. (360. discussed above. several factors including the cost of power. B.S.000 gpd) SWRO plant at Handsome Bay. The first However. atmospheric pressure. The authors’ company and only used to-date on smaller plants. This causes the wheel to turn. this energy can be used to reduce the electrical energy that is needed to pump the RO feedwater. Development of this capacity.docx Page 5 . Work technology over the past two decades has led to the exchangers also have a large number of moving parts widespread use of Pelton wheels in SWRO systems. It is The original work exchanger was built for the U. Handsome Bay. The work exchanger uses a system of pistons and valves to transfer the pressure When selecting the most appropriate energy recovery of the RO concentrate to part of the RO feed. Table 1 compares the pump. variation in plant operating conditions. that can be subject to wear. one needs to consider pressure booster pump then pumps this pre. Figure 6 illustrates the PFD of a typical RO system using a Pelton wheel for energy recovery. BVI. expected pressurized feed to the required RO feed pressure.

the pressure that must be applied to overcome the Table 2: Comparison of One. Hence. As feed water conditions vary. pressure of the first stage concentrate using the Limitation in the membrane module design. energy recovery devices and VFDs to Toray Industries. manufacturing with great success a spiral wound RO Recent innovative approaches include combining the membrane that can operate at high pressure and can turbocharger and Pelton wheel to minimize energy achieve over 99. the electricity prevented SWRO systems from operating at higher consumption of the two-stage system can be lower water recoveries. Most spiral wound RO membranes can operate up to 82. salt in the brine stream also increases. Conventional wisdom has held for years that to The two-stage system saves a good deal of capital maximize efficiency of the systems. has been determine which scheme is optimum in that case. and then recovery device such as a turbocharger to boost the 60-65% of this water was just dumped back to the sea.docx .7% rejection working on the consumption and to recover energy as efficiently as concentrate reject from the first stage unit. The energy of this historical SWRO meant that a lot of water had to be second stage can be minimized by using an energy pretreated. and the amount of seawater taken a single stage system. second-stage system.200 psi) at temperatures below 29°C (84°F). system performance will change.when selecting an energy recovery device in a the RO membrane had to be capable of operating at particular application. cost of pumps. in by the intake pumps is only 67% of that for a It has always been apparent that the low recovery of conventional first-stage system.and Two-Stage SWRO Plants osmotic pressure of the brine stream increases. The authors’ company has formed a joint-venture company with Toray to manufacture and sell these membranes in the Americas and the Caribbean. second-stage brine. recovery and configuration was 35-40% recovery and the pretreatment. the optimum costs and footprint area because the intake. the pressure limitation of the membrane becomes a limit on recovery before any limits on water chemistry are reached. This brine possible over a wide range of operating conditions.420 psi). Table 3 compares the relative cost of water production for a traditional toray seawater second-stage brine recovery single-stage system and a two-stage system. however. Single-Stage versus Two-Stage System Table 2 compares the performance of a conventional one-stage SWRO system with that of a two-stage system employing the Toray brine recovery membrane. for some years now. the concentration of desalinated seawater by 16%. The performance of the desalination system is based on typical Caribbean seawater composition and a process temperature of 28°C (83°F). outfall. Hence.7 bar (1. then pumped to high pressure. than that of the single stage system. called a Brine Conversion Table 1: Comparison of Energy Recovery Devices System (BCS). one needs to look at the overall pressures up to 98 bars (1. If water recovery is increased.. These savings in water production cost can reduce the cost of As the water recovery increases. Inc. is capable of recovering an additional 50% of the concentrate for recoveries of up to 60% with no appreciable increases in product salinity or energy per unit of product produced. then Page 6 TP1029EN. If water recovery were to be increased to the water chemistry limit rather than the membrane pressure limit.

with 60% of the water being rejected to the sea through a brine water outfall system. The original SWRO plant used Francis Turbines for energy recovery.Table 3: Comparison of Water Production Cost Full-scale Brine Conversion System Based on successful pilot testing of the Brine Conversion System at the SWRO plant. the system needed to expand again.docx Page 7 . Spain. Table 5 compares the product flow rate. vessel. Figure 9 shows the process flow diagram and sand. Table 4: Pilot Test Data from Maspalomas Figure 9: Process Flow Diagram for One BCS Unit at Maspalomas II TP1029EN. The seawater intake capacity is 41. which recover 33% of (5 mpd) electro dialysis reversal (EDR) plant for the water as product water. the submerged intake. The conventional SWRO plant at Maspalomas II consisted of five trains. A pilot test of the Toray BCS was undertaken at the 6 site. The seawater feed contains 35. Table 4 compares the actual data from the pilot tests to the targets. The SWRO system 3 Table 5: BCS Trains at Maspalomas II recovered 40% of the seawater as product water. module rack. and it has been in operation since 1999. the brine from the conventional SWRO system is pressurized up to 90 bars with booster The authors’ company owns and operates this 20. The facility is located on the residual energy in the reject water. In Case Study 1: Maspalomas II SWRO Plant this system. and the product quality of the three two sets of vertical media filters containing anthracite BCS units. A Pelton wheel recovers brackish water desalting. SWRO trains. the decision was made to expand the facility using a second-stage SWRO system to recover reject from one train of the existing single-stage SWRO facility. The pressurized brine then flows into the m /day (5 mpd) SWRO plant as well as a 20.000 m /day 3 3 brine concentrator membranes.000 mg/l TDS. At the time of Gran Canaria. The seawater is filtered through water recovery.000 m /day (11 mpd). Pilot Test of Toray Brine Conversion System In the late 1990s. Train BCS4 has 56 vessels of five membrane elements per The raw seawater is delivered via an offshore. The filtered seawater then passes through for one of the trains and Figure 10 illustrates the two sets of cartridge filters sized at 10 and 5 microns. The original SWRO system was writing. This was the first full-scale plant in the world to use the new BCS. Trains BCS1 and BCS3 consists of 28 Description of Conventional SWRO Plant vessels of five membrane elements per vessel.400 pumps. a BCS has been installed on three of the five installed in 1987 and has since been expanded. The advantage of this approach was that the seawater intake and pretreatment systems did not require expansion. open.

This expansion was possible with no capital investment in seawater intake. The BCS is producing permeate of higher quality than the Figure 12: Product Quality and Water Recovery versus first stage. Page 8 TP1029EN. The feed pressure to both stages Table 7: Maspalomas II Flowrate has been constant during the operation of the plant. at about 68 bars for the first stage and 90 bars for the BCS. The costs of operation of the intake and pretreatment system would be reduced by 33% per m 3 of product.docx . The projected maximum water recovery with all SWRO brine feeding a BCS system is 60% rather than 40%. Figure 11: Feed Pressure versus Time Figure 10: BCS Module Rack at Maspalomas II Performance Table 6 shows the water quality of the feed. and the projected the membranes in the first stage. the pretreatment system did not have to be expanded. For a new facility designed with a BCS. the The membranes in the BCS were installed later than combined SWRO and BCS system. Table 7 compares the single-stage SWRO system. pretreatment system or brine outfall system. systems use the same feed flowrate. the intake Table 6: Water Quality Data system did not have to be expanded to achieve more production. even though the concentration of Time feedwater to the BCS is higher than to the first stage. and the amount of chemicals used in the pretreatment system per m of product is 3 reduced. Also. and this is the system with a BCS added to all trains. the BCS versus time. Figure 12 plots the first stage and BCS product quality as well as the percent water recovery versus time. there would be capital cost savings of 33% per m /day (264 gpd) of installed 3 Figure 11 plots the feed pressure to the first stage and capacity for the pretreatment and discharge systems. Since both reason for the better quality from the second stage. first-stage and BCS permeates and first-stage BCS rejects.

35 kWh/m . For the trains with BCS units installed.200 CMD (2. the SWRO This is due to differences in age of the membranes. This study showed that the discharge from Maspalomas II did not have any • 10. Positive Displacement HP Pumps. The original capacity was UV disinfection. The total electrical stage would be lower salinity than the BCS permeate. Hence. and product pumping the largest of the five islands of the Netherlands • Recovery: 40% first pass. The original facility (includes 1st pass. Conventional 1st Aqualectra is the municipal supplier of potable water pass. Concentrate Disposal The average concentration of the reject from Maspalomas II is over 90. own and operate a SWRO facility. 3 stages 2nd pass.000 m /day (800.800 US GPD) effect on flora and fauna near the outfall. Curaçao Calder Pelton Wheel Turbines. Pelton wheels electricity for the Eastern Caribbean Island of are used to recover energy from the SWRO reject. CF. The original capacity was TP1029EN. The plant was expanded in 3 1999 and 2000. and now produces 10. UV and electricity for the Caribbean Island of Curaçao.000 gpd).000 g/h).692. Table 8: Water Quality Data minus the power recovered by the Pelton wheel. The Anguillans Government product quality of the thermal desalination units at awarded a contract to the authors’ company to build. BCS stage. MMF’s. the total electrical energy consumption of this train is 3. A study was performed to evaluate the effect on flora and fauna in Aqualectra Plant Summary: the area near the discharge. is 445 kW. 3 The energy consumption per unit of water produced by the SWRO train with BCS is lower than the energy consumption per unit of water produced by the conventional SWRO train. The total power consumed by 3 the high-pressure pump and the BCS booster pump. about 20 mg/l TDS (Total Dissolved Solids). currently mpd). BCS Pass.000 g/h).77 kWh/m .Energy Balance Water Quality For the conventional SWRO train. is 533 kW. energy consumption of this train is 3. minus the power recovered One might expect that the permeate from the first by the Francis turbine. and the BCS 3 and shows that the use of the BCS makes no product flow is 41 m /h (11. The total power consumed by 3 and BCS permeates and first stage and BCS rejects. Faced with increasing demand for potable SWRO permeate is fed to a BWRO system so that the water and brackish water wells that were becoming product of the reverse osmosis facility matches the increasingly saline. and product pumping) 3. the high-pressure pump. The Anguilla. it can be seen that the BCS permeate is actually slightly better than the first stage permeates. over 95% on-line Description of System Case Study 3: Anguilla Plant Expansion This SWRO system consists of a first stage RO system The Crocus Bay Desalination Plant in Anguilla.2 kWhr/m overall 3 3 own and operate a SWRO facility. first stage is 118 m /h (31.6 kWhr/m 1st pass / 4.000 g/h). 3 However. 58% overall Antilles. became operational in 1996. Aqualectra • Product Quality: < 40 mg/l awarded a contract to the authors’ company to build.000 g/h). West using conventional SWRO membranes and a second Indies is the municipal supplier of potable water and stage BCS to improve water recovery. the production rate Table 8 shows the water quality of the feed. disinfection. so the total flow is 3 detrimental difference to the product water quality. Case Study 2: Aqualectra. Feedwater Pumps. • Configuration: Open seas intake.docx Page 9 .000 µS/cm. 159 m /h (42. • Power: 2. product flow is 118 m /h (31. The original facility became operational in 1999. Faced with increasing demand for potable water and an aging distillation plant.200 m /day (3 3 • Performance: Some start-up problems. 3 stage second pass.

Feedwater Pumps. 4. Boniare Plant Summary: 2000 to produce 90. • Configuration: Open sea intake. The present capacity is 1. GPD) electricity for the Caribbean Island of Bonaire.docx . Bonaire Handsome Bay. • Power: 3. GPD) BCS system on each of the four independently operating SWRO single-stage trains. commissioning Crocus Bay. Positive Displacement HP Pumps. Case Study 4: WEB. Environmental Advantages stage BCS to improve water recovery. BVI Plant Summary: WEB is the municipal supplier of potable water and • 568 CMD (150. CF.000 U. Conventional 1st Virgin Islands. Pelton wheels are used to recover energy from the SWRO reject.60.000 3 • Quality: < 400 mg/l TDS gpd). Description of System DYPREX Work Exchanger. Conventional 1st pass. BCS pass.633 m /day (431. CF. strategically located to supply MMF’s.S. GPD) The SUEZ plant at Handsome Bay is one of several • Configuration: Open sea intake.0 kWhr/m overall 3 3 This SWRO system consists of a first-stage RO system • Performance: Over 95% on-line after initial using conventional SWRO membranes. The • Quality: < 40 µS/cm SWRO permeate is fed to a BWRO system so that the • Power: 2.409 CMD (900.000 U. municipal plants. Faced with increasing • Configuration: Open sea intake. BVI • 3. This SWRO system consists of a first-stage RO system partial 2nd pass. Anguilla Plant Summary: Case Study 5: Handsome Bay.S. However. MMF’s.00 kWhr/m overall 3 Description of System • Performance: Over 95% available on-line since This SWRO system consists of a first-stage RO system commissioning using conventional SWRO membranes and a second. plant.85 kWhr/m overall 3 product of the reverse osmosis facility matches the product quality of the thermal desalination units at • Performance: Over 95% on-line since about 20 mg/l TDS.000 gpd). when one considers the overall advantages Page 10 TP1029EN. own and operate a SWRO facility in Handsome Bay in 1993. own and operate a SWRO • Recovery: 40% overall facility. The plant was expanded in 3 WEB. and at first glance. 3 • Product Quality: < 800 µS/cm Description of System • Power: 2. substantial product pumping contract to the authors’ company to build. potable water for the many islands of the British Calder Pelton Wheel Turbines. demand for potable water and an aging distillation MMF’s.000 gpd (341 m /day) by installing a 3 • 1633 CMD (431. A portion of the SWRO permeate is fed to a an important factor is the potential effect on the BWRO system so that the product of the reverse environment. CF.S. product pumping using conventional SWRO membranes and a second- • Recovery: 58% overall stage BCS to improve water recovery. A Dyprex work shakeout of plant exchanger is used to recover energy from the SWRO reject. Feedwater Pumps. Positive Displacement HP Pumps. Positive Displacement HP Pumps.000 gpd (227 m /day). Feedwater Pumps.85 kWhr/m 1st pass. part of the Netherlands Antilles. A Dyprex work exchanger is used to recover energy from the SWRO When considering seawater desalination processes. one might 7 µS/cm. Using the Toray brine recovery system osmosis facility meets the stringent product quality does increase the concentration of the brine standards of the Bonairian government at about 40 discharge to the ocean. The original facility became operational in 1998. reject. The BVI government awarded a pass.112 U. The • Recovery: 58% present capacity is 568 m /day (150. consider this to be a disadvantage of this process. WEB Bonaire awarded a contract to the DYPREX Work Exchanger. Conventional 1st pass authors’ company to build.

since the salinity is higher in the second stage. expected that energy recovery devices will be used in creative ways to reduce power consumption further. Since the pretreatment At the Maspalomas II plant. Higher systems. and pretreatment. the turbocharger. without requiring additional investment in intake and discharge structures. The relationship that higher 5 application. The right case-by-case basis. As the BCS consumed with a two-stage than with a single-stage is applied more widely to full-scale plants. In the 21st century. delivering more options and more affordable water for the benefit of energy savings decreases. SWRO system. power. The BCS produces water of approximately the power consumed by the intake. and in some cases. Optimizing Energy Recovery and Brine Recovery In a single-stage SWRO plant. factors including the size of the plant. Since the volume is lower. the volume of brine is reduced by 50% over a one-stage plant. outfall same quality as a conventional SWRO plant. Pelton wheels choice for a particular plant will depend on several and work exchangers each have different merits and TP1029EN. the the Caribbean. In other cases. energy consumption decreases since less Over the last 20 years. as water recovery conclusions increases. energy is recovered from system is smaller. and this power is lower with a higher water water recovery allows existing plants to expand recovery system. desalinated seawater with RO. A concentrations is much smaller than with a single high-pressure pump is used to feed the first stage stage plant. and so as water recovery increases. pretreatment. efficiency of pumps and energy recovery devices working at different operating conditions changes the The Brine Conversion System is a proven technology amount of electrical energy consumed. reject. Turbochargers. recovery system. The turbocharger recovers the energy it amount of CO gas exhausted in the electricity uses to boost the first stage reject from the BCS 2 generation process is reduced by 10-15%. higher. is lower for the high recovery devices selected. the area An alternative way to minimize the overall energy around the brine discharge point that sees an consumption per unit of water produced would be to increased salinity over normal seawater use a combination of a BCS with a turbocharger. In situations analyzed by the authors’ company. the cost of stage process are significant. than a one-stage system. innovation in the RO field such water has to be pressurized to produce the required as in the areas of RO membrane design and amount of product water. it is design. the developments in these areas and others will continue pressure required for the BCS is much higher than for to improve upon seawater desalination technology. since the electricity consumption is reduced. as appropriate energy recovery device can minimize the demonstrated at Maspalomas II. first-stage high-pressure pump. the first stage. In some cases. The combination of BCS and the stage design uses the least energy. and energy recovery devices has water recovery will reduce energy is one of the significantly reduced the cost of producing reasons for the development of the BCS. There are several ways to combine energy recovery devices with a BCS to minimize the electrical energy Energy recovery devices need to be evaluated on a required per unit volume of water produced. less energy is electrical energy consumption of a plant.docx Page 11 . and the for recovering up to 60% of seawater as product amount of energy that can be recovered. the environmental benefits of the two. the capital cost of various energy recovery devices and the maintenance requirements of the The size of the seawater intake system is 33% smaller customer. Also. the single. There is also water. the comparison of power consumption between a lower The electrical energy consumed per unit volume of recovery single-stage SWRO design and a higher water produced is approximately the same for a recovery two-stage design varies depending on the system using a BCS as for a single-stage SWRO feedwater salinity and the type of pumps and energy system. The reject from the first stage can be boosted to the BCS feed pressure using a Also. so this system has less of an effect on the environment. Obviously.of the process. the chemical consumption and the BCS brine reject by a Pelton wheel attached to the related waste is reduced by 33%. A booster pump is used to increase the pressure of the first-stage reject While the total salt concentration in the brine is to the BCS feed pressure.

Work exchangers have proven.each produce energy savings with the greatest savings inversely proportional to their relative capital costs. work exchangers can be the least expensive overall solution (considering operating and capital costs).docx . although they have higher capital costs. reliable performance histories and have demonstrated significantly lower energy consumption than other available products. Page 12 TP1029EN. larger applications where energy costs are high. For long-term.

Morris. Talavera. E. “Re.Engineering of the Pelton Turbine for Seawater & Brackish Water Energy Recovery. Moch. TP1029EN.” PUB. Jr. visit us at www. Yamamura. A. pp. 2. “Pelton Wheel Energy Recovery Turbines. 8. Gruendisch. Jr.. “Using a Hydraulic Turbo Charger and Pelton Wheel for Energy Recovery in the Same Seawater RO Plant.. Toray. T.. Oklejas.docx Page 13 .. M. 7. I. Vol. contact your local SUEZ Representative. 5.. “Identification of the Mixing Processes in Brine Discharges Carried Out in Barranco del Toro Beach. and Nakanishi.. South of Gran Canaria”. November/ December 1999. Kurihara. 6. J. World Leader in Seawater Desalination Since 1928 Adds Seawater Reverse Osmosis Plant in 1997. and Moch. A. South Lake Tahoe..” Int’l Desalination & Water Reuse Quarterly. B.. Calder Bulletin. Desalination 139 (2001). M.” Int’l Desalination & Water Reuse Quarterly. 277- 286. 9-15. I.” Proceedings. Desalination 125 (1999). 9/No. “High Recovery/High Pressure Membranes for Brine Conversion SWRO Process Development and its Performance Data”. A. 4. K. San Diego. Proceedings. Uchiyama. and Ruiz. “Brine Conversion 2-stages Seawater Desalination System”. “The Case for and Feasibility of Very High Recovery Sea Water Reverse Osmosis Plants”. August 2000. pp.. T. J. 9008. CA. For more information. 1997. ADA North American Biennial Conference & Exposition. September 1999. IDA World Congress on Desalination and Water Reuse. 3. 3. Quesada. commercial literature. “Curaçao. H.references 1.