Energy Recovery Inc., a clean-technology provider for the water industry, will supply power-saving equipment to a California desalination plant that will be the largest in the Western Hemisphere.
The project will use 144 devices that recycle pressure used to force salt water through membranes, saving the Carlsbad facility as much as $12 million annually, San Leandro, California-based Energy Recovery said in a statement today. The units are expected to ship by the end of this year to IDE Technologies Ltd., the engineering firm contracted by project developer Poseidon Resources Group.
“It’s an economic slam dunk -- the payback on our pressure exchangers is less than three months,” Tom Rooney, chief executive officer of Energy Recovery, said in an interview. He declined to say how much each unit cost. The company has sold more than 14,000 worldwide, he said.
Energy Recovery is providing similar technology to a desalination plant in Chile and last week won a contract to retrofit a facility in Spain. As water scarcity becomes a bigger issue, there will be “sustained high interest in desalination,” said Su Gao, a water analyst for Bloomberg New Energy Finance.
“Energy Recovery is moving in the right direction of how the desalination game should be played, as we consider energy intensity to be one of the biggest barriers in developing desalination projects,” Gao said.
IDE, co-owned by Israel Chemicals and Delek Group Ltd., has a $500 million, 30-year contract to provide maintenance with Poseidon, which began site work earlier this year. The facility, about 33 miles (53 kilometers) north of San Diego, will create an estimated 50 million gallons of drinking water a day after it’s completed in 2016.