Saudi Arabia sets up demo plant to boost energy efficiency in reverse osmosis

Saudi Arabia sets up demo plant to boost energy efficiency in reverse osmosis
FILEGeneral view of the Israeli largest desalination plant on the Mediterranean Sea in Ashdod on The facility is located in Ashkelon not far from the northern border of the Gaza Strip In the first phase of operation it is meant to supply 100 million cubic meters of water a year Photo by Edi Israel Flash90 Local Caption
Published: 24 May 2018 - 7:49 a.m.
By: Baset Asaba

Saudi Arabia has commissioned Hitachi and Toray Industries to implement the ‘Demonstration Project for an Energy Saving Seawater Reverse Osmosis (RO) System’ in the Kingdom.

The new system will be within the framework of “International Project for Increasing the Efficient Use of Energy and System Demonstration Project” by the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization (NEDO).

As per the contract signed with NEDO, Hitachi and Toray will work together with the Saudi government owned seawater desalination firm, Saline Water Conversion Corporation (SWCC) to design, construct, and operate facilities for demonstrating an energy saving seawater RO system in the city of Ummluji.

Furthermore, both the companies will be responsible for testing the performance of the system and studying the business model to put the system to practical use with an aim to expand the operation in the country and to its neighbouring countries.

A 10,000 m3/day demonstration plant will be constructed in Ummluji, a city on the Red Sea coast using a low pressure, multi-stage high recovery seawater RO system developed by Hitachi and low-pressure seawater RO membranes supplied by Toray.

A low pressure multi-stage high recovery seawater RO system developed by Hitachi and low-pressure seawater RO membranes developed by Toray will be used for the facilities.

The tubular pressure vessels will be installed in multiple stages, with the flow rate and pressure of the feed-water controlled, thereby equalising the volume of permeated water. An energy recovery device will be applied to the system to reduce the energy consumed for driving the pump.

Simultaneously, energy recovery device is used for this system to decrease the energy consumed for driving the pump. Moreover, the low-pressure seawater RO membranes ensure a high salt removal rate even with low-pressure operation.

Hitachi and Toray believe that by applying the technologies in this way, energy consumption can be reduced by 20% compared to conventional seawater desalination plants applying RO membranes.

The demonstration project will be valid for a period of five years, starting April 2018 to March 2023.

The system is being developed based on the outcome of the Mega-ton Water System, which was established during FY2009 to FY2013 under the Funding Program for World-Leading Innovative R&D on Science and Technology, reported WaterWorld.

Since December 2016, the two companies have been conducting a pilot test using a small-scale, 500 m3/day plant at a research site of SWCC in Al-Jubail.

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