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Companies test desalination system

Issue 1 and Volume 101.

Companies test desalination system

The Parsons Corp. has entered into a joint venture with IDE Technologies Ltd. to design a desalination demonstration plant to use waste heat energy from power plants to convert seawater to fresh water at half the cost of current techniques. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and the U.S.-Israel Science and Technology foundation are funding the $8 million project. The desalination plant will be based on a multiple-effect distillation process using nearly exhausted steam from an adjacent power plant.

The project team hopes to generate additional savings by using the existing seawater intake structure of the power plant, drawing seawater off before it enters the plant. The power plant`s “waste energy” would come in the form of steam that has dropped to about 140 F and is no longer useful for electricity generation. The goal is to demonstrate that the process and design can turn sea water into distilled drinking water at a cost of less than $1,000 per acre-foot, approximately half the cost of most desalination systems. The water would be used to serve nearby municipalities and to meet the pure-water needs at the power plant.