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Content archived on 2024-05-27

Production of drinking water from the sea using small mechanical recompression vapour units coupled with a new compact plastic evaporator (PLASTIC EVAPORATOR)


Scientific objectives and approach:

The RTD performers will study the different steps of the designing and manufacturing process, keeping in mind the objective to develop small units consuming less energy at low price and better yield.
The research will focus on the following points:
- The use of thermoplastic polymers to improve the thermal conductivity (including the choice of the polymeric materials),
- The design of the unit to optimise the yield (exchange surface, temperature of functioning) including the use of a new compressor
- The use of totally natural biocide substances to clean the evaporator: it will limit the fouling of the system and preserve the environment.
- The use of the evaporator with renewable energies
- The coupling between the compressor and the evaporator itself
Our Work Programme includes the construction of an operational prototype for on-site validation. The follow-up of the on-site validation will be done by research centres and end-users. The Work Programme will be split in the following tasks: Project Management; Technical specifications; Process definition and choice of polymer; Technical development; Labscale test; Coupling compressor/evaporator; Prototyping of the equipment and installation; On-site validation. The project duration will be 24 months.
The results of the project will mainly be:
- Design of process and calculation of the different parameters of the equipment
- Evaporator and compressor development, then coupling
- Polymer and technology of assembling
- On-site validation of the project results

Problems to be solved:

The objective of the project is the design and demonstration of small units of desalination (10 to 100 tons/day), made of polymer, using the thermal process called Mechanical Vapour Compression, thanks to innovative compressor.
These plastic units will enable to overcome the malfunctions of the present technologies and meet the growing needs of water supply. The impact will be notably; suppression of corrosion and fouling problems, improved yield, maintenance facilitated and less frequent, cost effectiveness. Moreover, we will also study the possible use of the evaporator with renewable energy, solar and geothermal principally. If the preliminary results are encouraging, this application will also be studied on-site.

Expected Impacts:

The objective we have defined is to develop a range of desalting products, which would enter the market of the small units able to fulfil the needs of 30 to 300 persons. This type of small units is really suitable for numerous target-market.
More specifically we target the hot and arid European region, which have an increasing tourist development. The natural resources of these kind of sparsely populated regions are not enough to provide for the needs of two or three times more inhabitants during the summer season. Thus the environmental effects such as draining and the pollution of the tables water appear early.
We intend in this region our system for small local communities and tourist centres.
Numerous regions in Europe are concerned with these problems particularly in the Iberian Peninsula and in Greece.
In Work Package 1, B.S.M.O Company is in charge to find the needs in the Iberian Peninsula and HELIOSTAT does it for the needs in Greece.
Upon the deliverable n 5 we will have at our disposal the report on end users needs in Europe.
At the same time we intend to have our product for more technical target-market such as national navy or offshore installations. In this special sector people define their own technical specification and we keep it to account in order to homogenise our range of products.
Moreover on this market sector people are in the habit of using desalting installations so we are looking into doing on-site validations in this context.
In terms of exploitation, the objective of the SME proposers is to have marketable desalination unit as soon as the project ends, thanks to the final on-site validation phase. A first catalogue with a wider range of proposed units would be proposed within 2 years.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Domaine des Bois d'Houlbec

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Total cost
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Participants (9)