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A small-scale seawater reverse-osmosis system with excellent energy efficiency over a wide operating range

Infield, D.G. (2002) A small-scale seawater reverse-osmosis system with excellent energy efficiency over a wide operating range. Desalination, 153 (1-3). pp. 229-236. ISSN 0011-9164

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Abstract

A small-scale seawater reverse-osmosis system with excellent energy efficiency is presented. The system promises to deliver up to 460 l/h of potable water, from seawater (at 40,000 ppm), while consuming less than 1600 W of electrical power. This represents a specific energy consumption of less than 3.5 kWh/m3. Moreover, the flow may be controlled in order to reduce the power consumption by a factor of four without any significant loss of efficiency — the specific energy consumption remains near to 3.5 kWh/m3. The keys to these impressive figures are the energy recovery provided by the Clark pump, from Spectra Watermakers Inc., and the use of a variable water recovery ratio control algorithm, developed by CREST. The significance of the system is that it may be operated from variable intermittent renewable-energy sources, such as wind and solar-photovoltaic (PV), without need of batteries. Results of laboratory testing and extensive modeling are presented.