Seawater desalination has long been used in regions all over the world where fresh water is in short supply. Today, there are more than 15,000 desalination plants worldwide in 150 countries, producing more than 18 billion gallons of fresh drinking water per day. An estimated 70 million people around the world rely on desalinated water for their daily water needs.
Recent advancements in reverse osmosis desalination technology make this method of securing fresh drinking water increasingly cost effective and, therefore, an even more viable option for ensuring water supply reliability. Coupled with other improvements in desalination technology, these advances have resulted in reduced energy consumption and lower operating costs. This technology is being used at the Carlsbad Desalination Plant to make it the most energy-efficient desalination plant in the nation.
The Carlsbad Desalination Plant utilizes state-of-the-art pressure exchanger devices made by Energy Recovery, Inc. Because the device consumes no electricity and recycles otherwise lost energy, much like a hybrid car, the overall energy consumption of the reverse osmosis process is reduced by nearly 46 percent.
This technology allows the desalination plant to save an estimated 146 million kilowatt-hours of energy per year, the equivalent of $12 million per year. As a result, they reduce carbon emissions by 42,000 metric tons annually – roughly equivalent to the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 9,000 passenger vehicles – by recycling the pressure from the reverse osmosis process.
Energy recovery system.