Siemens have announced that they have created a pilot desalination plant that is able to cut the energy levels that goes into the processing phase by 50%. The proto-type, which is located in Singapore, is reported by the company to use a new process of desalination which is the reasoning behind the power saving capabilities. Instead of the traditional reverse osmosis processes, the new method involves using an electric field to remove the salt from the water.
In real terms, the new facility is able to process 50 cubic metres of water per day, but a consumption rate of 1.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity per cubic metre. Further plans are to set up further demonstration plants in America and the Caribbean by 2012, with a full scale system to be completed in Singapore by 2013.
The company believed that have revolutionised an incredibly relevant and important practice that can only prosper in a climate change immersed global community. Vice President of Siemens Water Technologies’ Global R&D Ruediger Knauf explained to Greenbang Sustainable Technology Analysis that the first facility is only the tip of the iceberg for the international company.
“Our new technology marks a revolution in seawater desalination. The results of our pilot facility show that the new process not only functions in the laboratory but also on a larger scale in the field. Because of its high energy efficiency and thus good CO2 footprint, electrochemical seawater desalination can play a major role in regions suffering from freshwater shortages,” Mr. Knauf stated.
Singapore’s status as an island nation has played a large part in the country’s backing of the desalination process as a major sustainability initiative.
Not only is this new process relevant in terms of green building and sustainability practices, with the implementation of the carbon tax in Australia, industry members will soon be looking to expand into less expensive areas of the market. With its low carbon emission status the desalination facility is sure to create major industry waves.
Experts from the company don’t plan to stop at their current technology level though. They are already undertaking a simulation model to help further the process. The research which is sponsored by the German Research Ministry is the practice of simulating “the processes at the molecular level to better understand the transport of the ions”. In doing this they hope to better understand the process in its entirety in order to make advancements upon their already state of the art technologies.
With this new technology going international in the coming year, industry members can only hope it offers to alleviate some of the tension that has arisen with the carbon tax implementation.