Sea Water Desalination


Sea water desalination is becoming increasingly vital as growing populations, climate change, and water scarcity drive demand for fresh water. By converting abundant sea water into potable water, desalination provides a reliable alternative to traditional freshwater sources, supporting the needs of growing populations and industries.

However, sea water desalination presents several challenges. It is an energy-intensive process, leading to high operational costs, and its use results in significant environmental impacts, such as brine disposal and marine life disruption. Additionally, algal blooms pose a significant challenge to desalination plants, potentially shutting down facilities or severely disrupting service. These blooms can clog intake systems, foul membranes, and require extensive cleaning, further increasing operational costs and complicating maintenance.

Conventional desalination pretreatment methods, while longstanding, are beginning to show their limits. These methods often struggle with high energy consumption, complex maintenance, and inefficiencies in removing all impurities. Specifically, particle breakthroughs in Multimedia Filtration (MMF) processes can shorten the lifespan of Reverse Osmosis (RO) membranes, increasing operational costs and downtime. Moreover, conventional ultrafiltration systems are ineffective during Harmful Algal Bloom (HAB) events, leading to significant service disruptions.

Our Ceramic Ultrafiltration Membranes offer an innovative solution to the challenges of sea water desalination.

  • Compact Footprint: Our system significantly reduces the required footprint, as much of the pretreatment is not necessary. This is particularly beneficial in densely populated or environmentally sensitive areas.
  • Effective Contaminant Removal: Our membranes provide a robust barrier against suspended particles, significantly reducing the fouling rate of downstream Reverse Osmosis (RO) membranes and increasing their operational lifespan.
  • Continued Operations During Algal Bloom Events: Our membranes are designed to maintain stable operations even during harmful algal bloom (HAB) events, preventing shutdowns and service disruptions.
  • High Recovery Rate: Our membranes achieve an elevated recovery rate, minimizing waste and reducing the environmental impact.
  • Reduced Operational Costs: By eliminating multiple pretreatment steps and decreasing chemical usage, our technology significantly reduces both CAPEX and OPEX.

Case Studies/Testimonials

  • Challenge Overview:
    The Tuas facility in Singapore experienced issues with capacity due to unreliable pretreatment when using polymeric membranes. High levels of dissolved organics and suspended solids led to frequent fouling and operational disruptions.
  • Nanostone Solution:
    Nanostone installed a full-scale commercial demonstration module of its ceramic desalination pretreatment system. This system effectively handled the challenging sea water, ensuring stable operation even during harmful algal blooms.
  • Benefits Achieved:
    • Achieved 97% plant availability.
    • Reached a 97% recovery rate.
    • Demonstrated tolerance to variable water quality without performance issues.
    • Reduced operational costs by eliminating multiple pretreatment steps and decreasing chemical usage.

  • Challenge Overview:
    The Barka facility in Oman struggled with frequent algal blooms, leading to shutdowns and reduced capacity.
  • Nanostone Solution: Implementing Nanostone’s ceramic ultrafiltration membranes provided a robust pretreatment that effectively managed the variable water quality and minimized fouling.
  • Benefits Achieved:
    • Consistent SDI below 1.5 and turbidity below 0.2 NTU.
    • Increased reliability and operational efficiency.
    • Improved water quality feeding into the RO system, reducing overall operational costs.

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