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Efficient reverse osmosis calls for the right solution

Reverse osmosis has become an increasingly popular technique for producing pure water, but using the appropriate chemical treatment is essential to keep things running smoothly. Kemira’s solution ensures that water produced by desalination or with the help of general membrane technology is treated correctly and that processes relying on this water operate efficiently.

The growing shortage of water around the world is being reflected in an increased reliance on unconventional sources – such as seawater, brackish water, or wastewater – for industrial processes, irrigation, and drinking water. Water intended for human consumption in particular must meet high quality standards, but much of that used in industry must also be of a high standard if processes are to run at peak performance.

Whether at a municipal treatment plant or on an industrial site, water needs to be treated appropriately before it enters membrane filtration systems to ensure that these systems stay clean for as long as possible and have a long service life. Correct pre-treatment has a direct effect on the quantity and quality of water produced and helps keep overall costs down.

One of the treatment methods to have found favour with industry in recent years for producing process water for steam boilers, food and beverage production, and manufacturing chemicals and pharmaceuticals is reverse osmosis desalination. Like many processes, this requires the right technical support and chemical treatment to operate efficiently and economically – which is precisely what Kemira’s membrane programme has been designed to do.

Safe, cost-efficient, and effective

Kemira offers application know-how and a wide range of products for membrane-based treatment, particularly reverse osmosis, which is widely used in desalination and water reuse projects.
Kemira’s membrane programme is a combination of application know-how and high-performance products designed to optimise clean water production and ensure uninterrupted operations.

By optimising the entire reverse osmosis water reuse or desalination process, the programme ensures that membranes stay cleaner for longer, that constant or increased flux and recovery rates can be achieved, and that a system will deliver lower overall operating costs.

The programme draws on Kemira’s extensive understanding of water treatment – ranging from troubleshooting individual problems to providing complete turnkey solutions – together with its mobile pilot plants and laboratory facilities for membrane and deposit analysis.

In action in the field in China

One of Kemira’s customers to have benefited from its membrane programme recently has been the governmental authority running the TangShan KaiLuan DongFang power plant in the booming industrial centre of TangShan City in HeiBei province.

This 150 MW coal-fired plant provides district heat to local residents and electricity to the grid in this city of over 1.5 million people on the North China Plain. The plant uses brackish groundwater for its boiler, which is desalinated using reverse osmosis. After repeated problems with poor performance and service, however, the authority decided something needed to be done and put out an improvement project to public tender.

Kemira won the contract in December 2010 with a package based on its application knowhow, technical support, and KemGuard® scale control chemistry. An onsite system survey was carried out, new dosing equipment installed and commissioned, and system diagnostics implemented.

The solution, which injects KemGuard antiscalant into the plant’s feedwater before it enters the reverse osmosis system, has resulted in much more consistent and stable performance of the reverse osmosis equipment, and much lower product consumption. Total treatment costs are now estimated to be at least 30% lower today than they were before.

"A combination of application know-how 
and highperformance products"

Sweet news

Membrane technologies are one of the areas being addressed by the Center of Water Efficiency Excellence (SWEET), established in 2010 by Kemira and VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland to develop more sustainable and energy-efficient solutions for water treatment and water-intensive industries, as well as more efficient water use and recycling. In particular, the focus is on developing a unique body of water-related knowhow and creating new business opportunities for companies in the environmental technology sector.

Kemira’s solution has resulted in a reduction of at least 30% in total water management costs according to the team operating the TangShan KaiLuan DongFang power plant.

Getting scale under control

Kemira’s comprehensive line of KemGuard┬« scale control products help manage specific mineral deposition problems, including especially difficult ones. By promoting cleaner systems, they contribute to better heat transfer, improved cost-effectiveness, and a longer service life for equipment. When providing a solution, Kemira always looks at a system as a whole to ensure that it fully understands the impact dosing a chemical upstream will have downstream. Given the fact that scale control is an essential tool in managing water quality, Kemira maintains an active and on-going R&D programme for the KemGuard product line to ensure that it will remain capable of tackling future scaling problems.

> Steve Laborda
(Published in HighTech Finland 2013)