The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Water Infrastructure Resiliency and Finance Center, in collaboration with the...
New Process Desalinates Water at 1/3 Cost of Current Methods
In a fourth generation of processes to convert saline sea water into a fresh, drinkable fluid, engineers and scientists at Albuquerque-headquartered AquaSonics International have announced a patent-pending new type of system which delivers pure water from sea water without the high cost, pollution and heavy energy demands of the Reverse Osmosis and Multi-Stage Flash processes currently in popular use throughout the world.
At a time when processors utilizing existing systems are projecting rates of $2.50 to $2.00 per processed thousand gallons of water from installations either currently under construction or still to be built, the AquaSonics system delivers fresh water at $.66 per thousand gallons -- less than a third of the cost of other methods.
"Today, one third of the world population already faces serious water shortages, and the World Meteorological Organization predicts the situation will worsen, and that a billion people will face serious water shortages in a little more than twenty years," commented Henry Lloyd, CEO of AquaSonics International. "In the United States groundwater contamination is also a critically growing problem. Rather than trying to come up with new variations on old processing technologies, we chose to bypass them by developing a totally new process to provide cheap, plentiful pure water from cheap, plentiful sea water."
AquaSonics International's new system, called RSE(C) Rapid Spray Evaporation operates on a totally new principle, which ejects salt or contaminated water through patented sprays at high velocities. As rapid evaporation occurs, solids precipitate out and are trapped while the vapor is condensed into pure water.
This breakthrough process has attracted the immediate support of key members of Congress including John Lewis (D-Ga.), James A. Traficant Jr., (D-Oh), Cynthia A. McKinney (D-Ga.) and others plus international leaders such as James George, Canadian Ambassador to India, Sri. Lanka (ret.) and a leader in the world peace movement who commented, "(RSE is) ... a breakthrough technology that can alter the geopolitical landscape by eliminating a major cause of international tension."
95% Recovery of Water Processed
The radical one-step simplicity of AquaSonics International RSE technology is three times more efficient in processing sea water -- generating 95% recovery of fresh water for every gallon of sea water, vs. 36% achieved by Reverse Osmosis and Multi--Stage Flash processes.
* RSE eliminates need for chemicals and chemical treatment to kill bacteria and related contaminants, an integral part of the Reverse Osmosis process.
* Eliminates secondary filtration process required by Reverse Osmosis to filter out ultra small particles.
* Reduces the high maintenance and capital costs associated with continuing replacement of filter membranes in the Reverse Osmosis system.
* Eliminates need for disposal of two gallons of concentrated brine waste water for every one gallon of processed fresh water in both Reverse Osmosis and Multi-stage Flash systems.
* Arsenic removal is an automatic part of the RSE system and not a separate operation.
* Cuts capital costs in half through elimination of high-pressure equipment and specialized housings required by Reverse Osmosis and Multi--Stage Flash systems.
* Reduces energy costs 40-75%
Industry-Wide Savings Projected with New System
With annual revenue from water projects expected to triple to $100 billion over the next two decades, the desalination industry is growing increasingly competitive. Builders of the largest ocean desalination plant in the western hemisphere in Trinidad claim they will be producing fresh water for about $2.50 per thousand gallons and contractors for projects in Israel claim that $2.00 per thousand gallons is their goal. However, as one major industry observer noted, accounting is not consistent amongst these multi-national contracting organizations. For example, one processor might capitalize instead of expensing an item like filters so those costs would be left out of operating costs while another would include it. Other items commonly omitted when issuing cost per thousand gallons statements can include chemicals, energy costs and secondary filtration processes and equipment.
"With aquifers drying up all the world, with global warming vaporizing and lowering our natural fresh water supplies, with increasing pollution of existing potable water, desalination is so critical to our survival as a civilization that we are not satisfied with having the lowest cost in the industry but are working to get that cost down to where every nation, state, municipality, farm, orchard, home, cruise ship, oil platform, and citizen in the world can be guaranteed a plentiful supply of fresh, life-sustaining water ... for themselves, for their children and generations of the earth's inhabitants to come," Henry Lloyd said.