Jul 30, 2013

Retrofit of Large Desalination Offers Long-Term Economic Benefits in Spain

Energy Recovery’s PX Q300 offers high efficiency, reliability and availability

Spanish water company, Cadagua, selected the Energy Recovery’s PX technology to retrofit its Valdelentisco Desalination Plant. Located in Valdelentisco, Murcia, in southeastern Spain, the plant has a potable and irrigation water production capacity of 140,000 cu meters per day, making it one of the largest desalination plants in Europe. Phase I of this new project, which involves a retrofit of two reverse osmosis trains, is one of many for Cadagua and Energy Recovery who have been working together for over a decade, having recently commissioned large plants in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, including Morocco and Ajman in the UAE.

Part of a larger trend to retrofit desalination plants around the world, this new project highlights the viability and sustainability of desalination as a solution to the ever growing strain on available fresh water resources. By retrofitting and upgrading with the latest technologies in desalination, plants and municipalities can save money and increase efficiencies. In Spain, Energy Recovery’s technology has been chosen in a majority of 2012-13 retrofit operations, and has saved customers 1.5 billion kWh and more than $158 million per year. Cadagua chose the PX technology not only because of the estimated savings per year for Phase I, but because the plant will not need to replace its existing pump system — adding to the overall increase in savings. The PX device is flexible and adaptable to variable operating conditions allowing the array to be installed with existing equipment.

This deal comes as no surprise given Spain’s reputation as a pioneer in the global desalination industry. The Spanish government is a strong supporter of developing smarter technologies that bring energy costs down, which ultimately makes water more affordable and competitive, and lowers plants’ operating expenses. At a time when Spain is experiencing one of the most difficult financial crises in decades, the governmental body that oversees and initiates desalination development, Acuamed, is driving a national effort to invest in making desalination plants more efficient and cost competitive for regional water production.