Chemical Free Desal in the Caribbean

Chemical Free Desal in the Caribbean

An InCarib Interview: IDE Technologies

Tell us about your company:

IDE is a world leader in desalination & water treatment solutions, specializing in the development, engineering, construction and operation of small to mega-size sea and brackish water desalination facilities, industrial water treatment and water reuse plants. IDE provides high-quality water for a wide range of customers with over 400 plants in over 40 countries. IDE has a strong presence in the Caribbean with more than 35 desalination plants throughout the region. To date, IDE has supplied WEB three thermal desalination plants: two mechanical vapor compression (MVC) plants of 750 m3/d in 1986, and one multi-effect distillation (MED) plant of 1,200 m3/d in 1988. The plants were operational until 2014, at which time they were decommissioned and replaced by a SWRO producing 4,000 m3/day, by means of a Build-Own-Operate (BOO) contract with a third party. Construction of the plant is expected to be completed during July of 2021.

Industry Insights:

What problems have you solved in the Caribbean Water Sector?

Seawater and brackish water desalination offer a sustainable alternative to rising water demands associated with population growth, diminishing water supplies and contamination. Conventional desalination does involve chemical dosing in order to maintain clean reverse osmosis (RO) membranes, and in some cases can also be energy-intensive. These challenges initiated the development of a new technology called IDE PROGREENTM, which enables eco-friendly and energy-efficient desalination, without having to rely on chemical dosage in order to remove organic contaminants from the surface of the RO membranes.

Instead of having to choose between protecting our environment and offering a solution that makes financial sense, IDE PROGREENTM is an innovative and cost-effective solution designed to address all business, operational, budgetary and regulatory requirements, while ensuring a minimal impact on the environment thanks to a proprietary chemical-free process.

Give us a behind the scenes look or breakdown of the science/technology you use on a daily basis.

IDE PROGREENTM a unique seawater RO (SWRO) desalination technology that utilizes a patented DOC process. It’s based on a natural bio-flocculation process, is chemical and antiscalant-free and does not require chemical cleaning. From an economic perspective, this technology enables up to a 10% reduction in OPEX thanks to reduced energy consumption, minimal maintenance and savings on chemicals (which account for about 20% of yearly operational expenses).

Common applications for IDE PROGREENTM are potable water for municipalities and resorts, boiler feed water (BFW) for industrial needs, power plants, refineries, and agricultural irrigation. Because of its flexibility, it can be implemented into a Modular Prefabricated Design model or a standard SWRO design, it can be incorporated into an existing SWRO desalination facility or built as a standalone plant. Automated performance allows for remote operation and performance monitoring, partly thanks to high-efficiency electrical motors that are coupled with electronic VFDs (Variable Frequency Drives).

How does your technology stand out from other providers in the region?

IDE PROGREENTM’s SWRO is based on two novel principles in water desalination:
Chemical-Free Pretreatment
This process harnesses nature to generate eco-friendly coagulation. Bio-flocculation is the creation of flocs caused by the reaction between certain bacteria and algae, which excrete a sticky substance called EPS. The bio-flocculation process utilizes this EPS as a glue that coagulates fine suspended solids in seawater and allows the efficient removal of these particles using the media filter (MMF). Given this is a natural process means that no coagulants are needed, faster and more efficient filtration leads to the higher quality filtrate, and because the filtration media is kept constantly clean – maintenance is kept to a minimum.

Direct Osmosis Cleaning (DOC)
DOC is a patented, automatic process that utilizes natural direct osmosis principles to keep the membranes constantly clean. By equalizing the pressures on both sides of the membrane for a short period of time, DOC allows the osmosis process to backwash the membranes with permeate water, which removes any fouling from the membranes surface. This process improves membrane performance and increases its lifetime, leading to a long-term reduction in energy consumption and stable, uninterrupted operation.

Share a Success Story:

IDE Technologies has been recently awarded the contract to design and build an IDE PROGREEN™ Desalination Plant on the island of Bonaire by Water-en Energiebedrijf Bonaire N.V. (WEB). The project builds off the success of more than 30 years of business between the two companies, with the latest expansion in the partnership seeing IDE Technologies providing desalinated water via its chemical-free desalination technology.

 The construction of the new RO plant in Hato will bring Bonaire one step closer to producing 100% of its own drinking water. The new facility will produce up to 5,600 m3/d of drinking water. In combination with the output of an existing facility that processes 1,600 m3/d of seawater, the new facility will meet the demands of Bonaire’s nearly 22,500 inhabitants.

The new project, formally awarded on November 4th, 2019, will harness some of IDE’s most powerful technologies to deliver a first-class turnkey desalination plant, which will include the pretreatment stage, SWRO, a second pass brackish water RO (BWRO) stage and ancillary systems that will tie into WEB’s existing post-treatment.

“Numerous suppliers expressed their interest in providing the water plant for WEB, and after an intensive, transparent evaluation process – IDE was chosen as the supplier,” said Alfredo Koolman, CEO of WEB. “As a world leader in water treatment solutions, IDE specializes in the development, engineering, construction and operation of advanced desalination and industrial water treatment solutions. They have extensive knowledge of building and maintaining desalination plants all over the world, including the islands of the Dutch Caribbean region, which makes them the ideal partner for this kind of project.”

Thank you for your contribution to this Blog feature, IDE. We hope other companies operating in the Region will see the value in sharing their experiences, and end-users will learn how your specialized technologies may help them during future project planning. You can learn more about IDE Technologies here.

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