Desalination is becoming an increasingly popular idea as water crises across the globe seem to continue to increase. From California to South Africa, event after event has made it impossible for communities and even entire countries to get access to the water they need, even if they sit directly next to an ocean of water. Desalination holds great promise for many of these areas, and while there are a number of theories floating around about how to best accomplish that task, steam seems to offer one of the most promising options.
The Current Processes
There are two different processes at work in today’s desalination landscape. You can use membranes in the process of reverse osmosis and nano-filtration, and this is a fairly effective option both in terms of cost and space. In fact, Komax worked with Black and Veatch on one such plant in the Singapore-Tuas Seawater Desalination Project just a few years ago. Today, it stands at one of the most energy-efficient plants on the market today.
While that is certainly a powerful option, and one we stand wholeheartedly behind, the possibilities in this industry remain almost endless, and many of them are being developed right now. The other real option in desalination is to utilize thermal processes like multi-effect distillation, evaporation, and crystallisation to boil the sea water, turn it into vapor, and leave the salt behind. The vapor is then condensed and turned into a drinkable product when it cools. To date, that version of the process has required quite a bit more energy, but that may not always be the case.
New industry technology has one process utilizing heat exchangers to recycle excess energy generated, then directed that energy into a separate thermal distillation plant. Whether or not it will be as cost effective as existing technology remains to be seen, but what doesn’t is the fact that Komax will continue to be the number one provider of desalination equipment on either front.