To cope with a growing demand for potable water, one of the most logical methods of producing freshwater is to remove the salt from abundantly available seawater. This process is known as desalination.

Application Overview

Although nearly 70 percent of the planet is covered in water, only around 2.5 percent is freshwater.  Of that small percentage of freshwater, most is locked in ice caps, glaciers, permafrost, and deep underground, leaving only around 0.007 percent of the earth's total water supply usable and easily accessible.  (Source: USGS)

In recent years freshwater demand has continued to grow with the earth's population and increasing requirements for industrial processes.  To cope with this growing demand, people have turned to alternative methods of producing usable freshwater, particularly in more arid regions.  One of the most logical alternatives is to remove the salt from abundantly available seawater, known as desalination.

There are many different desalination methods, the two most common being reverse osmosis and multi-stage flashing.  Reverse osmosis (RO) desalination forces water through a semipermeable membrane at high pressures to remove salt and other impurities.  RO is currently the least energy-intensive method of desalination and is responsible for approximately 2/3 of all desalinated water worldwide (Source: International Desalination Association).  Multi-stage flashing (MSF) is responsible for a majority of the rest of the worldwide supply of desalinated water.  This process flashes water (boils by means of pressure reduction) over several stages to separate freshwater from concentrated brine.  MSF is much more energy-intensive than RO, but can be combined with a cogeneration power plant to reuse waste heat to drastically reduce energy demands, making MSF more economically attractive than RO in some areas.

SAMSON Solutions

Be it reverse osmosis or multi-stage flashing desalination, control valves are vital to many different parts of the process.  Some of the particular challenges faced with these valves are:

-> Corrosive Environment - Desalination plants are typically located near a shoreline where the air can be very humid and corrosive.  SAMSON offers several options for special materials and surface treatments designed to protect equipment, even in the harshest conditions.

-> High Salinity Media - High salinity media such as brine, a byproduct of the desalination process, will corrode most metals very quickly, even standard stainless steels.  SAMSON offers a full range of control valves in Duplex and Super Duplex stainless steel as well PTFE and PFA lined valves to resist these corrosive media.

-> Sanitary Requirements - The water generated from a desalination plant will often be used as drinking water for the surrounding area, meaning that once it has been purified it must remain sanitary.  SAMSON offers a range of products that meet FDA, 3A, and EHEDG requirements for use in sanitary, hygienic, and aseptic applications.

-> Cavitation - Due to the high pressure required for reverse osmosis, several of the control valves may experience high pressure drops and varying levels of cavitation.  SAMSON offers several anti-cavitation trim options which are able to reduce or completely eliminate cavitation in the valve.

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