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Modular desalination: development and pilot-operation of a family of second generation modular wind powered sea water desalination plants



The objective is to develop a concept of a family of modular sea water desalination plants, adaptable to a broad variety of regions making use of locally available Wind Energy resources. The family concept will be based on a limited number of standardized modules. These modules (advanced technology wind energy converter, hybrid power units, various size sea water desalination units, electric generator unit for off-grid or grid connected operation etc.) will be interconnected using a highly flexible power conditioning and power management system. The concept includes the parallel production of water and electrical power according to the operator's needs. The modularity of the concept allows for the flexibility of adding/subtracting power and user modules during the operational phase. It thus enables the operator to develop the plant to changing operational needs or financial possibilities.

Technical Approach

The project includes the conception of a family of Wind Energy Converter/Reverse Osmosis (WEC/RO) desalination plants. Two pilot plants will be designed, developed and set-up. The power range of the Wind Energy Converters under consideration ranges from 30 kW to 500 kW. The two pilot plants (one unit of 30 kW and one unit of 500 kW) will be installed, tested and operated in Spain and Greece respectively. The large plant will be based on an Enercon 500 kW WEC combined with a hybrid diesel unit. The modular RO desalination unit for this pilot plant is currently estimated to be in the range of up to 250 kW nominal power and will produce up to 350 m3 water per day under the best conditions. The small modular pilot plant (30 kW) will make use of an Enercon WEC of 30 kW and will be complemented by a modular RO desalination system of up to 25 kW nominal power. Water output is expected to be up to 30 m3 water per day. This parallel approach allows for validation of the modular concept and allows for quick accumulation of operational data. The project includes the development, test and validation of a flexible power conditioning and a Resource, Load & Energy Management System which supports plug-in solutions of various sizes of advanced desalination systems.

Expected Achievements and Exploitation

- The conception of a modular family of advanced Wind/Reverse Osmosis desalination systems in the range between 30 kW and 500 kW.
- The design, construction, installation and operation of two pilot plants.
- The cost assessment of the technology for water production. - A summary on Renewable Energy powered desalination technology and available studies on water demand and supply in the Mediterranean region.
This project will help to prepare the technological, operational, promotional and marketing basis for market implementation of modular Wind/RO Desalination power plants.

Call for proposal

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EU contribution
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Participants (3)