CONSTANT PRODUCTION
OF AFFORDABLE FRESH WATER
USING ONLY FLUCTUATING RENEWABLE ENERGY

SELECT YOUR SITUATION

Create water for only 1.3 $/m³ or 5.0 $ per 1,000 gallons:

Elevation?

Let nature do the work
  • Solar energy water maker using gravity from a hill
  • 24/7 independent water supply

Flat?

Works everywhere
  • Solar energy water maker using battery storage
  • Independent water supply without elevation

Already green?

Efficient water maker
  • Efficient water maker using your electricity
  • When green or affordable energy is already available

AFFORDABLE WITHOUT EMISSIONS

Assumptions


TDS: Seawater 35,000 ppm, Brackish water 5,000 ppm

Cost of Water
Includes the investment costs to have a turn-key installation, consisting of the engineering, components, transporation, installation and training for operation. Also included are the operational costs for 15 years. Excluding possible required civil works and cost of land.

CO2 Emissions avoided
Cumulative emissions over 15 years using 0.00069 metric tons CO2 per kWh, taken from US Environmental Protection Agency 2014, eGRID, US annual non-baseload CO2 output emission rate Assuming a small scale RO power consumption of 3 kWh/m³ for brackish water and 8 kWh/m³ for seawater

ELEVATION: LET NATURE DO THE WORK

We turn seawater or brackish water into affordable fresh water 24 hours a day, without the use of expensive energy from the grid. Our efficient solution uses solar, wind or wave energy directly to fill up a water buffer installed at a hill with seawater. Through the force of gravity, the reverse osmosis process receives its required feed: pressurized seawater. We make sure the water buffer always contains water to enable constant water production, resulting in lowest cost. The waste energy of the reverse osmosis process is re-used to reduce the required elevation with 80% to 90 m or 290 ft for seawater. Take a look at the video & explore the working principle by clicking different components in the figure. We use the forces of nature at its best for an independent guilt-free water supply. By avoiding energy conversion losses, batteries & frequent maintenance, we offer savings up to 70%. The bigger, the better, as water cost come down with size of supply. Sizes start small and go up to millions of liters per day. Turn your water supply into an enriching experience for the people, planet and your profit.

THE SOLUTION EXPLAINED

Renewable sources as the sun, wind or waves are the only sources of energy used

Either PV panels or wind turbines or wave energy can be utilized, or a combination hereof, depending on the local situation. The footprint is determined by the source water salinity and the daily required fresh water production. The renewable energy sources will be placed at a suitable location of your preference. When renewable energy is available, the energy is directly converted into water displacement by the pump. There is no electricity source required, making the system suitable for off-grid applications.

A salt water source intake will be realized

The source water intake can be realized through a beach well, open ocean intake or borehole. During the design process, we make sure to avoid visual impact and disturbances of the marine environment.

The pump and controller directly utilize the renewable energy available

The salt-water resistant pump displaces the source water towards the elevated water buffer and the reverse osmosis process. Through the combination of the controller and pump, the energy generated by the renewable energy source is very efficiently converted into pumping motion. The pump speed varies depending on the availability of the renewable energy source. It requires no auxiliary energy source and is very low on maintenance.

One pipe installed out of sight connects the components

The pump, elevated water buffer and water treatment plant are connected through one pipeline. Part of the displaced water flows to the elevated water buffer, to cover the periods lacking renewable energy sources. When renewable energy sources are not available, meaning there is no pumping motion, the flow automatically reverses direction by gravity. A constant flow of salt water travels to the water treatment plant. The size of the pipeline depends on the daily required fresh water production. Friction losses are negligible by using smooth pipes, either of HDPE or PVC. This means that it is possible to cover large distances between the pump, elevated water buffer and water treatment plant. The piping can be placed underground to avoid visual impact and will be arranged according to your preference.

The elevated water buffer enables efficient and constant operation

The salt water, which is displaced upwards in periods with sufficient renewable energy sources, is stored inside the elevated water buffer. For periods with limited renewable energy sources, in case of solar panels when thick clouds cover the panels or during the nights, the water buffer will provide the required pressure to drive the water treatment. The elevated buffer can be created as a corrugated galvanized steel tank, including a bladder lining, suitable for coastal environments. An alternative is to create a cistern tank of concrete suitable for salt water storage in any dimension. By customized solutions, it is possible to limit the area required to realize this form of energy storage. Unlike batteries, the water buffer has a long lifetime and does not involve energy conversion losses. The elevation difference required between the water treatment plant and the elevated water buffer is determined by the source water salinity. For seawater with a Total Dissolved Solids (TDS) value of 35.000 ppm, approximately 90 meters ≈ 295 feet is required. For brackish water with a TDS value of 5.000 ppm, approximately 50 meters ≈ 165 feet is required.

Proper pre-filtration results in longer lifetime of the desalination plant

To remove large particles, cartridge filtration will be used. Additional pre-filtration might be required, depending on the source water quality and the source water intake. Optimal pre-filtration design will maximize the lifetime of the reverse osmosis membranes and ensure proper fresh water production.

High quality fresh water is the result of the reverse osmosis process

The Reverse Osmosis (RO) process removes all salts, contaminants, viruses, bacteria, cysts etc. down to a size of 0.0001 micron without requiring chemical treatment. The reverse osmosis filtration technology is based on a multi-layer membrane which filters the water under high water pressure. The technology is suitable for seawater and brackish (ground) water and works by applying pressure on the saline water in the semi-permeable membrane. This pressure is delivered by the energy recovery device. The reverse osmosis process has two exit flows: one containing the fresh water and the other containing the slightly salter water. This concentrated flow is still under 97% of the working pressure. The pressure of the concentrated flow is re-used by the energy recovery device to reduce the required amount of elevation significantly. Because of the elevated water buffer the reverse osmosis process will constantly produce freshwater. This constant operation expands the membrane lifetime considerably.

Post-treatment will be included depending on the intended water use

The fresh water flows towards the fresh water storage tank. In between it can be post-treated when required. The water can be re-mineralized to increase the water quality and the water can be made suitable for lengthy periods of storage.

Energy recovery reuses the excess energy and reduces the required elevation

The pressure of the concentrated flow of water is used to increase the pressure of the incoming flow of salt water going towards the reverse osmosis process. By combining the pressure of the elevated water tank and of the concentrate flow, sufficient pressure will be delivered to purify the saline water. The combination of the energy recovery device and reverse osmosis process ensures a constant production of fresh water. The energy recovery device does not require any auxiliary energy and is a pure mechanical device.

The fresh water will be stored and connected to the distribution system

The produced fresh water is ready to be used directly. As water demand usually fluctuates, the water can be delivered into a fresh water storage which is connected to the distribution system. The fresh water can also be transported over large distances to reach the end-user. Depending on the intended use of the water, we can make sure it will meet all quality requirements.

FLAT: WORKS EVERYWHERE

Many properties are restricted in size and have limited access to elevation. To enjoy a reliable independent water supply, we have developed a solution that works everywhere. A combination of state-of-the-art solar energy and battery technology allows efficient reverse osmosis operation, while limiting the required battery size. All components can be integrated at preferred locations, to avoid impact on existing infrastructure and limit the required footprint. The high efficiency reverse osmosis is equiped with remote monitoring and designed for easy operation. All components are purpose built to survive corrosive environments and allow a long life-time. To realize lowest cost of water, the sizes of the solar energy, battery bank and reverse osmosis units are optimzed during the design phase. A grid-tied back-up can be included and the solution is offered from a few m³ up to millions of liters of potable water supply per day. Make sure to leave your contact details to enjoy affordable water from unlimited resources.

ALREADY GREEN: EFFICIENT SUPPLY

We understand that water and energy are not always considered at the same time. If you already enjoy renewable energy or currently have an affordable energy solution in place, we can be your partner for the water supply. Especially for small-scale solutions, energy efficiency is usually lacking. We offer high-efficient reverse osmosis units that run below 3 kWh/m³ or 11 kWh/1,000 gallons energy consumption for seawater desalination, starting already at a few m³ or 1,000 gallons per day and going up to much bigger sizes! Just like all our solutions, water cost can be as low as 1.3 $/m³ or 5.0 $ per 1,000 gallons. Because of our experience in remote regions, we value the need for ease of operation & maintenance and can tailor the installation services to your needs. GSM based remote monitoring and control is included and all components are purpose built to survive corrosive environments. Join the resorts, private properties, communities & municipalities who have already made this step to independence. Why? Because we believe that a reliable access to safe and affordable water is of utmost importance.

interested?

FAQ - SELECT THE QUESTIONS FOR ANSWERS

Approach

Are water kiosks or water shops for developing markets possible?
"The short answer is yes. Many regions in the world experience severe fresh water shortage. Based on 2010 data from WHO and UNICEF, an estimated 2.1 billion poor people still lack access to safe water at that moment, including 900 million who do not have access to an improved water source, and 1.2 billion who do have access to an improved water source, but where the water is not safe. There are also striking disparities between cities, towns and small villages: over 1.6 billion people without access to safe water today live in rural areas. In urban areas, however, the increase in coverage is barely keeping pace with population growth.Kiosks provide affordable, safe water to millions of poor who live in heavily polluted areas, in a sustainable manner. There are many successful projects, with distinct operating models. The sector is buoyant with innovations, mostly in the field of governance, operations management and marketing. Different stakeholders are involved with the water kiosk concept, for example NGO’s, governmental organizations and local entrepreneurs. To set up a local business model for a water kiosk using our renewable driven desalination solution, contact us."
Do you work together with NGO’s, governments, research institutes or individuals?
Yes, we do not underestimate the importance of local knowledge and cooperation. We enjoy good working relations with local partners for the planning, preparation and execution of each project. To provide remote villages with potable water, we always work together with the government and preferably a local NGO. Governments usually have the legal responsibility of the fresh water supply and distribution. As fresh water demand and local knowledge are widespread, we are always interested to get in touch with partners or individuals who understand this specific niche market and are able to play an essential role in the realization of projects. As we use state-of-the art proven technology, we are also continuously interested in new developments and research within our scope of activities. Please contact us to explore the possibilities.
What is our vision on the future positioning of desalination driven by renewable energy?
It cannot be denied that fresh water scarcity is a rapidly increasing global challenge, caused by depletion of naturally available fresh water resources. The supply of these fresh water resources is increasingly influenced by climate change, while the demand is increasing by growing population numbers and direct and indirect water consumption by the increase of welfare. While management of these naturally available fresh water resources is important, as are the reduction of the fresh water usage and footprint plus the increase of recycling of waste water, we consider desalination as a partial solution to local fresh water scarcity. By rising electricity rates and water tariffs by the cut of governmental subsidies on a global scale, it simply makes sense from a financial perspective to profit of the decreasing costs and opportunities of renewable energy sources. We do not want to contribute to fossil fuels scarcity and thereby to climate change from our company’s philosophy. We are convinced that desalination driven by renewable energy will become the new standard for an affordable, considerate and sustainable long-term fresh water supply solution.
What is the difference between turn-key equipment purchase and a water purchase?
"A turn-key equipment purchase is a sale agreement in which we design and built the renewable energy driven desalination system and deliver it up to the moment that fresh water is generated. Through training, the tasks concerned with the operations of the system are explained and the responsibility for the operational phase is transferred to the buyer. This simple trade is a financial investment in return for a long-term sustainable water solution and will result in the lowest costs for the produced water. In some cases we are also able to arrange the maintenance service if this is required, which will add to the operational costs. The alternative involves a water purchase agreement, a contract in which a certain quantity and quality of water are sold for a certain tariff through a long-term agreement. It depends on many factors as the location, size and credibility of the end-user whether it is possible to enter such an agreement. As this model involves project financing, the water tariff will have to include the costs of finance. There is no investment required and direct savings can be realized, if this alternative is possible. Contact us to find out.
Why would you want to couple renewable energy sources directly to reverse osmosis?
There are several reasons to do so. First of all, from an energy efficiency and thus costs point of view, it will save money when there are no energy conversion losses involved during energy storage. The elevated water buffer does not involve conversion of energy and only includes negligible pipe friction losses. Alternatives such as batteries or a reverse osmosis tied to the electricity grid which also incorporate renewable energy sources, involve energy storage and transportation losses. Secondly, it allows an off-grid solution which provides independence of the availability of the local electricity network and potential limiting regulations. Power outages will not influence the fresh water supply and therefore increases the reliability of the water supply. The water is produced on site, leading to a more decentralized organization which avoids leakage losses during distribution. Off-grid systems usually enjoy none or fewer limitations regarding the implementation of renewable energy sources. End-users connected to electricity grids of limited size can be forced to limit their renewable energy sources set by the electricity provider. By realizing the fresh water supply off-grid, the used renewable energy sources can overcome such limitations. The extra advantage is that by taking the water supply and its required renewable energy supply off-grid, the load and supply management of the local grid are decreased.

Background Information

How does reverse osmosis work?
"The reverse osmosis filtration technology is based on a multi-layer membrane which filters the water under high water pressure. The technology is suitable for seawater and brackish (ground) water and works by applying pressure on the saline water in the semi-permeable membrane. In addition to removing salt the Reverse Osmosis process removes all contaminants, viruses, bacteria, cysts etc. down to a size of 0.0001 micron without requiring chemical treatment. When looking at a reverse osmosis membrane, the salt source water enters into membrane layers. Applied pressure forces the salt source water across membrane layers into the product tube. Concentrated water containing the salts is rejected by the membrane and does not enter the product tube. The concentrated water exits the side of the element opposite of the feed. Product water is collected in the product tube.
What is reverse osmosis?
"Let’s start with osmosis. Osmosis is the process by which molecules of a solvent tend to pass through a semipermeable membrane from a less concentrated solution into a more concentrated one. If one would separate fresh water (less concentrated solution) from seawater (more concentrated solution) using a semi-permeable membrane, fresh water would flow through the membrane into the seawater side. Reverse osmosis is the exact opposite, however, due to the natural occurrence of osmosis, reverse osmosis requires pressure to be applied on the more concentrate side (seawater). With sufficient pressure applied freshwater will flow through the membrane from the concentrate side to the fresh water side. This also explains why reverse osmosis is a pressure driven desalination method."
Why and where is desalination used?
The scarcity of fresh water resources and the need for additional water supplies is critical in many arid regions of the world and will be increasingly important in the future. Many (arid) areas simply do not have fresh water resources in the form of surface water such as rivers and lakes. They may have only limited underground water resources, some that are becoming more brackish as extraction of water from the aquifers continues and depletion occurs. Desalination is the common solution to get access to fresh water when there is fresh water scarcity. Seawater desalination is suitable for arid coastal regions that need an additional source to augment fresh water supplies. Brackish desalination allows inland communities to take advantage of water sources that are too salty to treat with conventional methods. There are more than 15,000 desalination plants worldwide. Dry regions with limited fresh water scarcity are dependent on desalination. Examples of regions are the Mediterranean, Caribbean, Middle East, Pacific, America and Australia. By increasing fresh water scarcity, desalination is becoming an addition to the conventional water supply on a global scale.
Why should reverse osmosis be operated constantly and continuously?
Discontinuous operation involves higher risks for bio-fouling, which can cause the reverse osmosis membrane life to significantly decrease. This will lead to higher replacement costs which add to the costs of operations. Also, when requiring 50 m³ or 13200 gallons per day, one would need a 3x larger reverse osmosis equipment when the water is only produced during hours of available sunshine, when assumed as 8 hours per day. When production is 24 hours a day, this means the system makes use of its full water purifying capacity and thereby involves a lower water price.
Why use renewable energy coupled to desalination?
For regions with high electricity prices, an unreliable electricity network or no access to electricity, it makes sense to use desalination driven by renewable energy from a financial perspective. Besides the cost savings, renewable energy driven desalination also avoids the emissions of greenhouse gasses by avoiding the use of fossil fuels, which enables a sustainable solution. It also provides an independent solution on-site, not relying on rainfall, electricity networks, diesel transportation or water transportation.
Why use reverse osmosis?
"The mature commercial desalination technologies can be divided into two main categories. Thermal distillation in which the saline water is boiled and the vapor condensed as fresh water distillate, which can be performed by Multi-Stage Flash (MSF) and Multi-Effect Distillation (MED) Membrane separation by the technology of Reverse Osmosis (RO) in which a semi-permeable membrane is used to filter out the dissolved solids. Reverse Osmosis is the dominant desalination technology, mainly because it has lower capital costs and lower energy requirements and because of the modularity of the technology. Of all installed desalination capacity, reverse osmosis accounted for 60% in 2010.

Operations

Are permits required?
This depends on the location of the project, the daily production capacity and the end-user. Usually, permits for construction and the source water intake are required. We’ll be happy to assist to find out and proceed with the arrangement of all required documentation.
Does the system require an electricity supply for its operation?
No, the desalination process obtains all its required energy directly from renewable energy sources. This means no more (expensive) electricity bills or diesel consumption through a generator. The solution is suitable for stand-alone, off-grid and remote implementation.
How is the source water intake organized?
The source water intake can be realized through a beach well, open ocean intake or borehole. During the design process, we make sure to avoid visual impact and disturbances of the marine environment. How this is arranged precisely is very location and source water dependent. Brackish water is often underground. A borehole will be constructed in which a submersible pump is placed. Seawater can be found at the coast. Depending on the shoreline and local regulations, seawater can either be taken in using a beach well, or by using an open seawater intake. Beach wells have the advantage that the sand acts as a natural pre-filtration for the intake water. An open seawater intake would be the alternative, which is based on a pipe running into the sea. The distance this pipe needs to run into the sea depends on the local conditions.
How much time is required until a system is operational at the location?
The required time-span between a signed order and a commissioned system depends on factors such as the location and the size of the water demand. We can however provide the approximation that within 2-3 months, we will have all components ready for shipment and have organized local civil works to commence. Then for the transportation over sea and meanwhile have the preparatory civil works performed, we can assume another month. Then local installation usually takes between 1-2 months, resulting in a total of 4-6 months.
Is remote monitoring of the system possible?
To reduce on-site labor costs and provide real-time knowledge on the performance of the system, we can include this service. Through real-time remote monitoring it becomes possible to perform preventive maintenance, to prevent downtime and to ensure high water quality. This option allows remote access to real-time data such as the water quality and quantity produced, the solar panel performance and the elevated buffer capacity.
Is there any risk on pipe failures?
We will make sure that all pipes will meet the pressure and temperature requirements to make sure no pipe will fail. The pipes are preferably trenched underground, so human activity cannot easily cause pipe failure. In the extreme event that there is a pipe leakage, it will be directly noticeable by the system’s performance and the leak can be traced and repaired.
What about maintenance?
"Depending on your preference, location and in-house staff availability, we can either provide the knowledge to operate the system by a professional training, or offer to organize the maintenance services. It is good to understand that most of the components require little maintenance or no maintenance at all. PV panels have a long-life cycle and only need to be rinsed with water once in a while, depending on the location. The pipes and water tanks are robust components with a long lifetime and the pump is chosen to be resistant to the saline water source and maintenance free for years to come. The water treatment consists of the pre-treatment, reverse osmosis and post-treatment. Depending on the source water quality and the purpose of the fresh water, manual maintenance activities are scheduled periodically. These activities are limited to cleaning or replacing the pre-filters and reverse osmosis membranes and the replacement of the wear parts of the energy recovery device. We will make sure spare parts are readily available through close collaboration with local suppliers and by keeping them on stock.
What are the operational costs?
The operational costs of reverse osmosis systems traditionally consists of the electricity costs, membrane replacements, consumables such as pre-filters, spare parts and labor. Depending on the local electricity price, the electricity costs normally account for more than 50% of the operational costs. In our renewable energy driven solution, these electricity costs are avoided, while at the same time minimizing the other operation costs. The exact operational costs depend on the production size of the system, the source water quality and the source water intake and will be included in your quotation. As we deliver long-term sustainable solutions for fresh water supply, all components have been carefully selected and combined to realize limited maintenance.
What happens to my carbon footprint if I decide to install one of your solutions?
All fossil fuels traditionally involved with the desalination of water will be avoided, which results in a significant reduction of your carbon footprint. Feel invited to take a look at the graphs at the Products-page to get a better indication of the amount of emissions saved. We will specify this in your quotation.
What happens when the elevated water buffer is empty?
In the extreme event that the elevated water buffer becomes empty, the pressure acting on the water treatment part will reduce, as the water in the pipe is now used. As the pipe becomes emptier, the pressure on the reverse osmosis equipment decreases, until there isn’t sufficient pressure to drive the desalination process. This results in an automatic system stop. Once the pump starts displacing water again, the pressure will increase, causing the system to automatically resume operation.
What kind of guarantees can be given?
We are responsible to ensure that all health, safety and labor regulations are met and provide you with the desired water production quantity and quality. As we perform custom installations, we will always make sure the system is producing water accordingly and the operational phase is arranged to satisfaction. The exact guarantees depend on the intended water use, the location and the production scale of the system. They will be discussed during the proposal phase, once there is an understanding of all ambitions and requirements for the fresh water supply at the particular location you are involved in.
Where can the PV panels, wind turbine(s) or wave energy system be installed?
From an efficiency perspective it is preferred to locate the PV panels, wind turbine(s) or wave energy installation close to the source water intake pump. However it can be the case that it has the customer’s preference to place the PV panels for example on top or near of the elevated water buffer. There are no limitations to the possibilities. Roof mounted or ground fixtures solar panels can both be realized. Basically the options are endless as long as a power cable connection can be made between the renewable energy source and the intake pump.

Specifications

Can the produced water be used for drinking?
Besides the removal of the salts, reverse osmosis removes also removes contaminants, viruses, bacteria, etc. It is based upon a multi-layer membrane by which the water is filtered under pressure. To assure constant quality, real-time monitoring can be included in the solution. Reverse osmosis has been used as a drinking water source for decennia and much experience has been gained. For potable water use, post-treatment steps such as re-mineralization of the water can be included. We will make sure the water quality exceeds your expectations and is conform the local standards and regulations.
Can the water plant be integrated into a high rise building?
Yes, a self-sustaining building can be created by the integration of the renewable energy driven reverse osmosis solution. The basement will then contain the water treatment part, while in or at the top of the building a water buffer is incorporated in the design. Solar or wind energy can be integrated into the building, taking into account the desired esthetics. Contact us for the realization of this unique and progressive approach.
Can you retrofit the renewable energy sources to an existing reverse osmosis installation?
In most cases, this is not possible. The water treatment part is designed for the specific operation on low pressure only, which basically means that the combination of renewable energy sources, energy recovery and elevated water buffer cannot be coupled to an existing reverse osmosis system. The existing reverse osmosis system usually has a high-pressure pump, works on a different recovery ratio and is controlled using electricity. Most likely, the majority of the existing equipment will have to be replaced. However, the high efficiency of the renewable energy driven solution will make sure costs savings and return-on-investment are realized on short notice. Make sure to drop us a line when you’d like to investigate possible improvement on your fresh water supply and provide us with insights in the current organization.
Can you work with wave energy?
We can. We are in close collaboration with the suppliers of the latest near-shore and off-shore wave technology and are working on a wave project implementation. Depending on the availability of waves on your location, we can offer this option. When the consistency of the waves is sufficient, this could even eliminate the requirement for natural elevation all together.
Does the solution use a turbine to generate electricity?
No, the only energy conversion takes place at the pump which converts electricity of the renewable energy sources into water displacement. As reverse osmosis is driven by pressurized water, there is no electricity and thus no turbine generator required for the operation. This is advantageous as energy conversion losses and investment costs and operational expenditure are avoided.
How does the start-up of the system work?
"When renewable energy is available, the energy is directly converted into water displacement by the pump. This water is displaced towards the elevated water buffer. Once sufficient water pressure from the elevated buffer is applied to the reverse osmosis membranes, it will automatically start to operate and produce fresh water. The water pressure of the elevated water buffer and the concentrate flow of the reverse osmosis are combined to increase the feed pressure. This is a process which takes around a minute, until the required pressure where the water is desalinated is obtained and continuous and constant operation is realized. No additional equipment or energy source are required for the start-up.
How much noise is generated by the solution?
There is almost no noise generated by the solution, because our desalination equipment doesn’t use high pressure pumps. The system only runs on water pressure provided by the elevated water buffer and the use of our energy recovery devices. These devices are silent except for an occasional switching sound which can be heard when the reciprocating devices switch side. Also, the source water intake pump is silent as it is usually submersed in the beach well and can therefore not be noticed above ground.
How much water can you provide on a daily basis?
The smallest system we provide produces 2500 liters or 660 gallons per day. As we provide customized solutions, any water production capacity above this minimum can be offered. In theory, the system can be scaled up to reach water production in the order of 100,000 m³ or 26,400,000 gallons per day. In reality it will be a balance between the water demand, available renewable energy sources and available area.
Is the system hurricane resistant?
The main components vulnerable to hurricanes are the renewable energy sources. We work with suppliers of frames for solar panels capable of designing and guarantees for high wind loads. However, flying debris will remain a risk for damaging the panels during a hurricane. We have made it possible to remove the solar panels in limited time to prevent this to happen by an easy mounting system.
Is there any waste involved?
The reverse osmosis process has one feed flow and two outlet flows, containing the fresh water and the salty water, the latter also referred to as the concentrate or brine flow. The most suitable disposal option of this flow will always be studied when installing a desalination plant. To prevent environmental impact and to assure maximum lifetime of the reverse osmosis membranes, we operate on a low recovery ratio, on the contrary to conventional reverse osmosis systems. This means the concentrate or brine flow does not differ much from the original source water salinity. As of such, the impact on the marine life is limited. For the location of the brine or concentrate flow, we will take into account proper mixing with the seawater and any local regulations. By avoiding the prevention of local impact, desalination of seawater is as a sustainable source of fresh water. Judging from a global perspective, seawater can be regarded to have unlimited availability, just as the renewable energy sourced used.
Is there only one pipe connecting the elevated water buffer?
Yes, usually there is. Because the flow direction changes automatically through gravity when there is no pumping action, there is only one pipe required. This means the same pipe is used for the upward and downward flow of the water. This saves costs and allows this simple and efficient solution to function at its best. The only scenario when another pipe is required is when the water treatment part is located at a very different location from the source water intake, for example on the other side of the hill.
What if I do not have elevation difference available?
We can offer small-scale reverse osmosis units driven by PV panels or wind turbines incorporating batteries to cope with the fluctuating renewable energy input. The systems are very compact, low on maintenance and easy to install. There have been over 800 installations in more than 35 countries, providing affordable potable water. For a larger water demand without natural elevation difference available, we recommend hybrid systems utilizing renewable energy sources when available. As back-up, the local electricity grid or a generator is incorporated to provide sufficient fresh water production. We have the right knowledge, experience and partners to execute your project.
Why not use batteries as a buffer instead of the elevated water buffer?
We can. Basically it is a question of costs and environmental impact. It is simply cheaper to use the elevated water buffer and it does not involve the same environmental issues considered with the lifecycle of batteries. Batteries have high investment costs, involve energy conversion losses and can include maintenance and disposal issues. Especially when the daily water production capacity goes up, the size of the battery will keep increasing, without profiting from significant economies of scale. This not the case with the elevated water buffer, which has no energy conversion losses besides the usually negligible friction losses, require no to little maintenance, enjoys a long lifetime and becomes significantly cheaper when increasing the size. When no elevation difference is available, we are able to provide you with the battery alternative as we cover the whole range of desalination driven by renewable energy.

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Elemental Water Makers B.V. - info@elementalwatermakers.com - Molengraaffsingel 12-14 - 2629 JD Delft - The Netherlands
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