To meet the growing demand for drinking water, one of the most logical ways to produce fresh water is to remove salt from the vast quantities of seawater that are available.This process is called desalination.
Although nearly 70 percent of the earth’s water is covered, only about 2.5 percent is fresh water.Of that small amount of fresh water, most is locked up in ice sheets, glaciers, permafrost and deep underground, accounting for only 0.007 percent of the planet’s total available water.
In recent years, the demand for freshwater has continued to grow as the earth’s population has grown and the demand for industrial processes has increased. In response to this growing demand, people have turned to alternative ways of producing usable freshwater, especially in arid areas. One of the most logical alternatives is to remove salt from the large amounts of seawater that are available, a process known as desalination.
There are many different desalting methods, the two most common are reverse osmosis and multistage flash. Reverse osmosis (RO) desalination forces water through a semi-permeable membrane at high pressure to remove salt and other impurities.RO is currently the least energy-consuming desalination method, accounting for about two-thirds of all desalinated water in the world (source: International Desalination Association). Multistage flash (MSF) is responsible for most of the rest of the world’s freshwater supply. The process consists of several stages of flash water (evaporated at reduced pressure) to separate freshwater from the concentrated brine.MSF is much more energy-intensive than REVERSE osmosis, but it can be combined with cogeneration power plants to use waste heat to dramatically reduce energy demand, making MSF more economically attractive than REVERSE osmosis in some areas.
Whether reverse osmosis or multi-stage flash desalination, control valves are essential for many different parts of the process. Some of the special challenges facing these valves are:
Desalination is usually located near the coastline, where the air can be very humid and corrosive. THINKTANK offers several special materials and surface treatment options to protect the device even in the most extreme of conditions.
High salinity media, such as saltwater, which is a by-product of the desalination process, will quickly corrode most metals, even standard stainless steel. THINKTANK offers a full line of dual and super dual-phase stainless steel control valves and valves lined with PTFE and PFA to resist these corrosive media.
Water produced by desalination is usually used for drinking water in the surrounding area, meaning that sanitation must be maintained once it has been purified. THINKTANK provides a range of FDA, 3A, and EHEDG compliant products for hygienic, hygienic, and sterile applications.
Due to reverse osmosis requires high pressure, some control valves may experience high-pressure drop and varying degrees of cavitation. THINKTANK offers several cavitation resistant trim options that reduce or completely eliminate cavitation in the valve.
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