Access to clean drinking water is a basic human need. The useable freshwater just amounts to 0.01% of the total water present on the planet. With the rise in population and industrialization, and changing climatic conditions, there is a strong demand for innovative desalination technology.
Innovative pumping solutions are the lifeline of desalination plants. Pumps for desalination plants operate in harsh conditions. They have to be sturdy and robust to run 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year. They must be highly durable and withstand corrosion from seawater, salt, and dry wind. Additionally, the seawater desalination pump has to be highly efficient to reduce power consumption.
At Sintech, we have addressed all these challenges to create a world-class range of seawater desalination pumps. Our pumps for desalination pumps have a wide range and are suited to meet all pressure applications from low to high pressure. We also supply pumps for various desalination technology like RO (Reverse Osmosis), MED (Multi-Effect Distillation), and MSF (Multi-Stage Flash system).
The Basics of Desalination
Simply put, desalination is the process of extracting salt and other mineral components from seawater to produce drinkable (and useable) water. Desalinated water is used for a variety of applications like:
Industrial water needs
Cleaning and other residential needs
Desalination is gaining popularity due to the severe water crisis across the world. There is a massive demand for clean drinking water across continents with changing climatic conditions and increasing population and industrialization. To meet this demand, governments are investing heavily in desalination technology and plants.
Besides on-shore desalination plants, desalination technology is used at various places like submarines, container ships, etc. Water generated from desalination is healthier and cleaner than groundwater derived from polluted rivers and other freshwater sources. Additionally, the presence of harmful chemicals and minerals in freshwater makes it not suitable for human consumption. In contrast, the quality of water produced from desalination plants is clean, pure, and safe for human consumption and other applications.
Methods of Desalination
Currently, several desalination methods are being used across the world. Each of these methods has its pros and cons. Some of the popular desalination technology are:
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Multi-Stage Flash Distillation (MSF)
Multi-Effect Distillation (MED)
The two most common desalination technologies used across the world include distillation and reverse osmosis.
Distillation is the process of heating and condensing seawater to separate the dissolved salt and minerals in it.
In Reverse Osmosis, the seawater is pumped through a semi-permeable membrane at a higher pressure than osmotic pressure. This causes the seawater to flow to one side, leaving the minerals and salt on the other side. The water quality produced via desalination depends on several factors like water temperature, water salinity, water temperature, membrane permeation factor, etc.
Despite the type of desalination technology used, pumps play a crucial role in desalination plants.
Shining the Spotlight on Desalination Pumps
The various pumps used in desalination plants include:
Seawater intake pump
High-pressure feed pump
Auxiliary pumps for seawater pre-treatment, etc.
The high-pressure pumps used in a desalination plant are either centrifugal pumps or positive displacement pumps. The type of pump used depends on the size of the desalination plant. Positive displacement pumps are ideally used for desalination plants with a capacity of up to 150,000 gpd. On the other hand, centrifugal pumps are ideal for plants with larger flow capacity. They have higher efficiency and low maintenance cost.
The Scope for Desalination Plants
The demand for desalinated water is predicted to rise exponentially in the next few years. The global desalination market was $4 billion in 2005. It witnessed a staggering growth of 15% per annum to reach nearly $30 billion in 2014. The demand for desalinated water is further expected to grow each year.