The increasing need for clean water is the driving factor for advances in desalination technologies to purify water and wastewater.
Recent analysis from Frost & Sullivan (ti.frost.com), Advances in Desalination Technologies, provides information on technological developments at organizations, companies, universities, research institutions and government labs involved in developing or using desalination technologies in water and wastewater treatment processes. The study also includes a summary of key patents to provide an insight on notable activities, technology trends and major participants involved in the development and application of these technologies.
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“In wastewater treatment, the treated water could be reused for industrial process such as cooling water, boiler feed, process water and heavy construction,” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Rebecca Bright. “The pace of advancements in desalination of water and wastewater has been high in the last five years, and the scientific community is still researching various methods to improve existing methods of desalination.”
Due to the significant advancements in membrane and thermal technologies, the unit price of treated water has decreased by approximately 50 percent or more. In addition, researchers at Fairleigh Dickinson University have undertaken a study on increasing 8 in-membranes to 16 in-membranes in order to increase the area of the membrane for better water reuse and desalination. A major membrane manufacturer is also looking at ways to improve membrane performance by looking at alternative approaches to design, configuration and elements.
Desalination technologies require pretreatment in wastewater and, in some cases, pretreatment in water. In reverse osmosis (RO) for example, pretreatment is essential when particles such as sticks, leaves, trash, grease, suspended solids, organic substances, colloidal substances and odor need to be removed. This prevents fouling and clogging of the membrane, which otherwise would reduce the efficiency of the membrane and decrease the quality of water generated.
"While pretreatment adds to the capital investment cost and deters widespread uptake, this will eventually even out as the efficiency of the treatment is higher and the life of the membrane is longer,” notes Bright. "The Tampa Bay project in California, which was supposed to be commissioned by 2003, is a good large-scale example of the failure of a due to the lack of proper pretreatment facilities."
To overcome the challenges demonstrated by the conventional pretreatment process, water treatment industries have piloted new treatment technologies and utilized full-scale pre-treatment of raw water. CH2M Hill International has described new technologies such as dissolved air floatation (DAF), low-pressure membrane filtration, ultra filtration (UF) and micro filtration (MF).
Advances in Desalination Technologies is part of the Technical Insights Growth Partnership Service. This study reviews technological developments that might influence the landscape of desalination technologies in water and wastewater treatment and covers the key participants and their technological developments. While some technologies in the study have been commercialized, others are expected to be commercialized in the near future. Interviews are available to the press.
Technical Insights is an international technology analysis business that produces a variety of technical news alerts, newsletters and research services.
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