Tuesday, January 09, 2007


desalination, part the second

got this article at work a while ago. it's about a proposed alternative to on-shore desalination. the idea's pretty interesting, and it's feasible, but it leaves me with a bunch of questions.

Company floats offshore desalination plan
Fleet of conversion vessels would process water while out at sea

by kevin howe
monterey herald, 10.12.06

Water Standard, headed by founder and CEO Andrew Gordon, holds patents for turning seawater into fresh water that provides environmental protection for marine life with the intake of seawater and a system for deterring "plumes" of brine and heated water emissions. They say their approach provides a reliable, safe water source while avoiding many environmental issues that crop up when a land-based desalination plant is proposed. ...

An oceangoing seawater conversion vessel doesn't need intake and outfall lines on the seabed, Gordon said. It draws its water a short distance through a telescoping snorkel that can be set to the optimum depth to avoid damage to sea life and get the best-quality water.

Brine -- water with a concentrated salt content that is left after freshwater is processed -- doesn't get pumped out of an outfall onto the near-shore seabed, he said. The proposed ships would be able to mix the brine with raw seawater and discharge the diluted brine in the deep ocean, where it would be further diffused.

There would be no need to pair the desalination plant with a power plant, as most projects do, Gordon said. The ships would generate their own power with jet turbine engines of the type used on jumbo jets, fueled by clean-burning biodiesel oil or marine gas oil, neither of which produce sulphur emissions. Such engines, he said, have demonstrated their reliability on aircraft, ships and land-based electric power generating plants. With their own power source, Gordon said, the ships would be immune to power failures, could operate at cheaper rates than land-based plants because of fuel costs, and operate over the horizon to avoid visual impact from the shore.

They aren't vulnerable to earthquakes or tsunamis, and can sail away if a heavy storm looms.

The freshwater would be brought ashore in "food-grade" tankers similar to those used for bulk transport of orange juice concentrate or wine, Gordon said, or by modular tug barge tankers. ...

The group is looking to build ships capable of processing 20 million to 200 million gallons of water a day, he said. Such a vessel could be built in two years. Plying the coast of California, a Water Standards seawater conversion ship could provide water to a consortium of companies and relieve pressure on land-based water supplies, Gordon said, such as the Carmel River. If their product isn't needed in one place, it could be delivered to another. ...

Water Standard Co., Gordon said, would be willing to deliver a ship and recruit and train crews, then sell it to the water management district or other public agency if the area wants the water plant under public ownership. ...

You said the article leaves you with questions... so what are they?
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?