Tue, Mar

Dow Water & PS lowers Energy Costs in Desalination Treatment


DOW SEAMAXX™ Reverse Osmosis Elements used by desalination companies in EMEA to treat seawater while lowering energy costs 

Dow Water & Process Solutions, a global leader in sustainable water separation and purification technologies, is developing innovative technologies that help companies reduce energy consumption in the production of drinking water, making it more accessible to consumers across the globe. This year, the company has seen its cutting-edge DOW SEAMAXX™ Reverse Osmosis elements installed in many new plants across Europe and the Middle East, including Cyprus, Israel and Italy.

Desalination is the treatment of saline water, most commonly seawater, which is processed through membranes to remove salt and other minerals so it can be converted into drinkable freshwater. Desalination is vital to human progress because, while 75% of the earth is covered with water, only 2.5% of it is freshwater. This lack of freshwater is further pronounced in some areas of the Mediterranean that are surrounded by seawater, such as the islands of Cyprus or Malta, and areas with long coastlines like Italy.

However, the single largest cost for seawater desalination is energy. In fact, the power required in seawater desalinization can range from about three to six kilowatt hours (kWh) of energy to produce one cubic meter of potable water, making it one of the most energy-intensive, and therefore one of the most cost-intensive, water treatment processes available. The availability of clean water is an issue that’s fundamentally and inextricably paired with energy in what’s called the Water-Energy Nexus, in that one is needed to create the other, so it is important to carefully manage this relationship to keep energy costs low and clean water production high.


The single largest cost for seawater desalination is energy: 3 to 6 kilowatt hours to produce one cubic meter of potable water


Dow Water & Process Solutions has created an effective and efficient way for water treatment companies to reduce the amount of energy used in desalination processes without decreasing the capacity of water processed daily. DOW SEAMAXX™ Reverse Osmosis elements optimize energy use by reducing the specific energy consumption (kWh/m3) needed to produce freshwater by up to 10% -an economical and ecological win.

Alexander Lane, EMEA Commercial Director, Dow Water & Process Solutions, said: “We are very proud that our technology is being recognized for its advanced energy saving capabilities and that our company is being chosen to supply freshwater to people across Europe, the Middle East and, indeed, the whole world. We are committed to our research in desalination processes and solutions that will further reduce energy consumption so that future businesses can be even more efficient and can continue to provide fresh water to everyone”.


"This solution optimize energy use by reducing the specific energy consumption (kWh/m3) needed to produce freshwater by up to 10%"


To continue providing potable water to consumers across the globe, the company is collaborating with companies across Europe and the Middle East to help not only improve efficiency of desalination processes, but subsequently reduce the costs of these processes for businesses and therefore consumers.


Protecno – Italy 

With little to no natural water reserves due to pollution of inland and coastal rivers, acid rain damaging lakes, and inadequate industrial waste treatment and disposal facilities, the consumer and commercial demand for clean water in Italy is high. To supply this demand, Protecno, an Italian Water Treatment company with almost 40 years in the industry, has installed 42 DOW SEAMAXX™ Reverse Osmosis elements at its plant in Lampedusa. Protecno has installed the chemically advanced membranes to increase efficiency by reducing energy expenditure while continuing to produce the same quantity of clean water as the previous system. Installation of the membranes was due to begin in September, and more than $230,000 dollars (approximately €175,000) is expected to be saved over a five-year period. The feedwater for this system is drawn directly from the Mediterranean Sea for processing and serves to provide drinking water for the island.


Mekorot - Israel 

For a very dry environment like Israel, which suffers from desertification, pollution of groundwater resources and regular drought, desalination is necessary to supply drinking water to a population of 8 million. Israeli water treatment company Mekorot Israel National Water Co. is a wholly owned government company under the purview of the Ministry of Energy and Water and supplier of 80% of Israel’s drinking water supply. Mekorot and Dow have a long term cooperation in which Mekorot has been successfully using the various generations of DOW FILMTECTM Reverse Osmosis technology. With its continuous commitment to further develop water technologies, including the aim to further lower the total water cost of existing systems, Mekorot selected DOW SEAMAXX™ Reverse Osmosis elements for the upgrade of the existing brine desalination unit of the brackish reverse osmosis desalination plant located at Sabha Site in Eilat town, Israel. The membranes installed at the unit are expected to generate approximately 10% lower specific energy consumption, compared to the standard low energy DOW FILMTEC™ seawater reverse osmosis membranes, while still meeting the product water quality requirements.


MN Larnaca – Cyprus 

Most of the terrain on the island of Cyprus is arid and only has 9% arable land for crops. Cyprus relies mainly on desalination to distribute drinking water to its municipalities because it lacks clean freshwater reservoirs due to drought and pollution from sewage and industrial wastes. MN Larnaca Desalination Co. Ltd. (a corporation formed in equal share of Mekorot Development & Enterprise Ltd., a subsidiary of Mekorot, the national water company of Israel, and Netcom Co., Cyprus) is conducting a full renovation of its Larnaca Seawater Desalination Plant. With the aim of reducing energy consumption while continuing to comply with Cyprus’ stringent water quality requirements, MN Larnaca is implementing innovative concepts and technologies to improve its Seawater Reverse Osmosis membrane technologies. After a thorough evaluation of various membrane types and configurations, an Internally Staged Design (iSD) using the innovative DOW SEAMAXX™ Reverse Osmosis elements type was selected by MN Larnaca as the most energy efficient solution for the plant. This solution represents a reduction of around 3% of the specific energy consumption across the whole membrane system (including first and second pass systems), when compared to an optimized configuration using the latest generation of standard DOW FILMTEC™ membrane elements. Upon completion of the renovation works, which is expected to be towards the end of 2014, MN Larnaca will continue to operate the renovated plant for the next 25 years, providing 60,000 m3/day of drinking water to the population in Larnaca.


About Dow Water & Process Solutions

A global leader in sustainable separation and purification technology, Dow Water & Process Solutions, a global business unit of The Dow Chemical Company, is making a clear impact in the world. We’re helping to make water safer and more accessible, food taste better, pharmaceuticals more effective and industries more efficient and spearheading the development of sustainable technologies that integrate water and energy requirements. Dow Water & Process Solutions offers a broad portfolio of ion exchange resins, reverse osmosis membranes, ultrafiltration membranes, fine particle filters and electrodeionization products, with strong positions in a number of major application areas, including industrial and municipal water, industrial processes, pharmaceuticals, power, residential water and waste and water reuse. More information about Dow Water & Process Solutions can be found at www.dowwaterandprocess.com