Producing power is a very water intensive process, with the power sector being the largest industrial water user. The majority of water used in a power plant is for cooling purposes, steam used to drive a turbine requires cooling for it to be condensed and reused. Processes such as flue gas scrubbing also use water in power plants, removing harmful contaminants from exhaust gases before they are released to the atmosphere.
Water used to generate electricity can come from surface water or groundwater sources. Large volumes of water are required for power generation, and a lack of water due to drought or the increase in water scarcity can limit the plant’s capacity. The water used to generate electricity is typically quite pure, which prevents the build up of salts and other contaminants in the boiler. In most cases, this water will require treatment to remove salts, hardness, solids, and other impurities before it can be used.
In the power industry, flue gasses typically contain a small percentage pollutants such as sulphur dioxides from burning fossil fuels, which are harmful to the environment. Wastewater is produced by the flue gas desulphurisation (FGD) process which typically has high hardness, salinity, suspended solid concentration, ammonia levels, and heavy metal concentrations. This water requires treatment before disposal or reuse, with treatment becoming more common with increased regulations for zero liquid discharge (ZLD).
The latest technology to achieve ZLD in power plants typically involves the following unit processes; Lime Softening, Multimedia filtration, Ion Exchange Polishing, 2-stage Reverse Osmosis, Forward Osmosis, Evaporation & Crystallisation.
Our CIF® (continuous ionic filtration) technology provides continuous and concurrent physical filtration and ion exchange, in a single robust and scaling resistant process. It can directly treat the FGD wastewater and produces product water equivalent to water going through lime softening, multimedia filtration, and ion exchange polishing processes. Using CIF®, high water recovery is achieved and cost is typically reduced by 50%.
When ZLD is the goal, our HIROX® (high recovery reverse osmosis) technology can then recover most of the remaining water for re-use.
Finally, our EVAPX™ evaporation and crystallisation technology can treat the highly concentrated brine from reverse osmosis to provide a zero liquid discharge (ZLD) solution for power plants. Using the power plant’s waste heat as a part of the evaporation process can cause a high reduction of the operational cost of this solution.
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