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Desalination as a way to slow down global drought

Last June 17th, World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought was held while Europe and North Africa were being hit by the first severe heat wave of the year. On the occasion, Greenpeace –according to a UN study– warned that effects of desertification at world level affect directly 250 million people, and approximately 1,000 million live in drought risk areas, distributed among more than 100 countries. In addition to the obvious ecological disaster that climate change is likely to produce in decades to come, the losses in economic terms and quality of life are only beginning to be estimated. However, desertification was already identified as one of the main obstacles to sustainable development during the 1992 Rio Earth Summit

In this spirit, the environmental organization reminded that climate change is accelerating irreversible processes of soil loss, and the commemoration of this day is even further meaningful as the thermometer goes well above 35o C in many European capitals at the end of spring. It is necessary to assimilate the repercussion of human and industrial decisions on climatic environment. The effects of global warming on hydrography, rainfall and water evaporation from great reservoirs and irrigation ponds in dry-temperate climatic areas all over the world are growing problems that cannot be ignored or postponed. It is impossible to deny the appalling similarities between people running away from the threat of war and those who escape from progressive desertification, lack of water, floods and hurricanes.

The challenge of making an accurate economic assessment of the agricultural, industrial and human use of water, as well as searching for possible alternatives for its management by upcoming generations, are unavoidable steps to quantify their impacts, not only at present, but also for the future. Different water management systems can be used to avoid the overexploitation of aquifers and water flows in arid regions, involving various types of economical and environmental impacts. Today, in this new way of understanding water and its real value, special attention is being paid to the new era of desalinated seawater accessibility.

Among various action measures proposed by the UN to slow down the expansion of desert areas, modern desalination techniques have turned real the possibility to significantly relieve the pressure of water usage on underground resources, especially in coastal regions. Desalination’s elevated costs –mainly derived from the energy it requires– have been considerably reduced over the last years thanks to technological progress in this field. Desalted water is expected to fulfill new and innovative functions, especially as a support of a wide range of economic and human activities in coastal areas.

Today, reverse osmosis is the most advanced, efficient and environmentally friendly seawater purification technology. Protec Arisawa is aware of the growing weight that innovation represents in finding sustainable ways to supply drinkable water to people living in dry regions. This leading company in producing fiber reinforced plastic pressure vessels for membrane filtration systems is present in desalination’s main scenarios, such as the Middle East or North Africa. For example, Agadir (Morocco) is one of the most thriving regions in Africa, where Protec Arisawa will supply the future Agadir desalination plant with the most modern technology in pressure vessels for filtration pre-treatment systems and reverse osmosis. Once it is completed, this facility will be the biggest desalination plant in Morocco, largely contributing to ensure drinking water supply and water security for local inhabitants, further helping the development of tourism and agricultural industries, the main economic drivers of this region.

Filament winding: the key behind pressure vessels performances

Winding, reeling or coiling filaments in cylindrical shapes is an effective fabrication technique to create complex structures made from composite materials. The process is as brilliant as it is simple: the main operation consists in winding tightened filaments or stripes (previously impregnated in thermosetting resin) around a core cylindrical mold or a chuck. Rotation control is the key: the chuck usually turns on itself as the lorry carrying the fibers moves horizontally, setting materials around the mold in the requested pattern.

The most common and effective system currently uses carbon or glass fibers receiving a synthetic resin coating while winding. Once the rotating chuck is completely covered and the desired thickness has been reached, the part is transferred into special ovens in order to solidify the resin (curing phase). Mastering control parameters in this step of production is essential when it comes to guarantee the highest quality standards in all built parts, according to their future applications. When the resin is finally cured and steady, withdrawal of the chuck concludes the process. The result is a hollow part perfectly shaped, designed for a specific use and fabricated following customer’s exact requirements. Resulting parts are generally cylindrical products such as pipes, chemical and fuel storage tanks, stacks, motor cases, masts, and of course pressure vessels.

Apart from being a highly customizable production method, filament winding processes are totally adapted to automation, mostly due to the capacity of controlling filament’s tension and stress. Fibers applied at higher tension result in final products with increased rigidity and strength, while lower tension allows greater flexibility. The orientation of these ‘magic’ filaments must be also carefully controlled so different layers can overlap in the right way, that means in the opposite direction from previous coats. The angle set in the application of lower layers will determine the properties of the finished part. Once again, various aspects can influence the final result. A higher angle will offer more resistance to compression and a pattern with lower angles (known as closed system) will provide an amplified resistance to traction. Structures requiring high physic properties and a considerable degree of resistance are made out of epoxy resin, while cheaper polyester resin works just fine for most extended applications. This huge range of materials embraces a long spectrum of high-tech qualities that fit seamlessly with essential requirements in high pressure vessel manufacturing.

Over 40 years of experience in composite filament winding confirm Protec Arisawa’s expertise in the organization and production of sophisticated technical solutions for many industrial sectors. Pressure vessels production techniques have no secret for the world leader in high-pressure vessels for desalination processes. Working on these complex materials and techniques raises practical challenges that are often seen as innovating opportunities by Protec’s engineers: all new designs and any change in design follow the testing path required by ASME. With leading industrial facilities in USA and Europe, Protec Arisawa is now pursuing efforts to expand the company’s field of action to more mainstream markets and applications. Fiber reeling production allows adaptability to practically any area.

Protec’s technological footprint in Middle Eastern desalination program

At this point, seawater desalination techniques are increasingly playing a decisive role as an alternative source of water. More than 300 million people around the world rely on desalinated water for their daily needs. In 2015, the United Nations Report about hydrographic resources underscored that almost 75% of the population in the Arabian Peninsula is in fact living in a constant water scarcity situation, considering 1,000 cubic meters per inhabitant and year as an established global key figure to guarantee optimum conditions for sustainable growth of this area. In the United States for example, on average each person uses far more than 2,000 cubic meters a year.

In most cases, hard climatic conditions and disparate possibilities to access water are only the first obstacles to implement an efficient, viable and reliant water supply program that must satisfy the basic needs for the expanding population of the XXIst century metropolises in the Persian Gulf. Located in an extremely dry climate zone with relatively easy access to seawater, this part of the world has been a groundbreaking area in desalination techniques and proceedings. It is no coincidence that the two leading countries in desalination capacity are Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, and more than half of the global desalination plants are operating in the Middle East. All projects are unique in this area. In a geopolitical context marked by different political, economical and social systems, the scale and extension of construction works relies on multiple factors. Nevertheless and according to UN studies, the actual challenge for this sensitive area consists in reducing the generalized oil dependence that rules the thermal technology traditionally used in this region to ensure drinkable water availability thanks to the sea.

As innovation is Protec Arisawa’s natural medium, this global leader in creating and fabricating fiber reinforced plastic pressure vessels for membrane filtration systems –commonly used in advanced desalination processes– is playing its part. By replacing old thermal seawater treatment systems (both MSF and MED) by reverse osmosis technology, Protec’s contribution to sustainable development in the region with most overexploited aquifers in the world can’t be neglected. For instance, Protec Arisawa will produce the pressure vessels for Doha Phase One desalination plant in Kuwait. This leading-edge facility will process everyday 270,000 tons of seawater into fresh water, which would ensure covering the daily needs of 900,000 people, starting year 2018. This project presents an added technical challenge: the marine region along Kuwait’s coast is notorious for its poor water quality, and its treatment requires complex seawater processing techniques.

Protec’s expertise is well known in the Persian Gulf region. Only 100 km south of the Kuwaiti border, the massive Ras Al-Khair desalination plant in Saudi Arabia operates with the best RO pressure vessels in the market. This hybrid facility that implements both multistage flashing (MSF) and reverse osmosis technology is the biggest desalination plant of its kind in the world, capable of supplying approximately 3.5 million people in the capital, Riyadh. In Mirfa (Abu-Dhabi), Protec will provide the membrane housings in a project that will combine existing and new facilities to offer a seawater desalination capacity of 238,635 cubic meters a day.

Protec Arisawa will manufacture and supply state-of-the-art equipment both for Doha and Mirfa desalination facilities, in accordance with the engineering standards of the Boiler and Pressure Vessels Code of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), section X.

 

 

 

Security under pressure

Whether it is separating the required element in a complex chemical process or lifting huge loads, pressure is a basic physic phenomenon as simple to comprehend as it is difficult to dominate and control precisely. From a pressure cooker or a simple fire extinguisher to gigantic industrial tanks used to contain explosive fluids, through vessels designed for membrane filtration processes and a myriad of varied applications, pressure containers utilities are present in almost every aspect of our daily life.

Due to their special characteristics, risk assessment and security forecast for pressure vessels or equipments are critical aspects in pressure vessel manufacturing processes. Every parameter is crucial when it comes to ensuring security for any kind of application: the choice of materials and production techniques, determined by the design and final function of the pressure vessel, are essential issues. Each container must be designed for its own purpose. For example, champagne bottles are different to the rest of wine bottles: their thickness and shape are specially designed to preserve the bubbles over time.

Pressure is a complex phenomenon where control involves studying all imaginable quality standards, and a mistake at any point of the procedure can lead to devastating accidents, in accordance with the latent danger of the application concerned. As is to be expected, a crack in an oxygen bottle is not equally hazardous as a fissure in a nuclear reactor device.

It is virtually impossible to entirely eliminate risks when operating or manipulating these types of equipments and devices; therefore it is only natural that a large part of the investment in this sector seeks to reduce risks to a minimum, trying to confine potential consequences and protect people, assets and the environment.

Safety certifications and unified norms have become increasingly important key aspects when regulating the long list of characteristics in security and standard matters. The American Society of Mechanical Engineers is possibly the most renowned organization in this area. Founded in 1880 as an engineering company focused on mechanical engineering in the United States in response to a huge number of steam boiler pressure vessel failures, ASME is now a multidisciplinary and global association that gathers over 130,000 members worldwide: their codes and standards make up the core guidelines in terms of security and product classification for a great part of domestic and industrial systems.

Protec Arisawa is a company specialized in the production of high-tech pressure vessels for desalination plants. At Protec, 100% of the vessel production is designed and manufactured following the ASME Code, the most widely spread and applied International Safety Standard Regulation upon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Pressure Elements, drawn up specially for fiber reinforced plastic pressure vessels. Before delivery and upon customer’s request, we can affix an ASME Code stamp on Protec pressure vessels and assign each of them a National Board Registration number. When selecting Protec, the customer is choosing the best Reverse Osmosis vessels in the market.

 

8” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa
Protec’s contribution in pressure vessel evolution

Global production of desalinated water has almost quadrupled since year 2000, with more than 18000 desalination plants operating worldwide. The pace of construction is expected to increase as the related technology evolves. This process based on reverse osmosis (RO) is the main chemical step in large-scale water treatment plants around the world. When pressurized seawater flows through the membrane, a complex polymer allows only water molecules to enter the system, blocking salt and other non-organic impurities.

Every day, millions of people benefit from seawater processed by Protec high-tech systems to fill the hydrographic deficits in their regions, whether in terms of domestic, agricultural, health or industrial use. Protec’s fiber reinforced pressure vessels are key elements to reach the greatest effectiveness in the most relevant desalination scenarios around the world, such as the Ras Al-Khair plant in Saudi Arabia (largest and most technologically advanced hybrid water desalination plant on Earth) or the Claude “Bud” Lewis Carlsbad desalination plant in San Diego (biggest desalination facility in the USA). For the last several years, frequent drought in California has been an important factor when reconsidering the clear need to use desalinated seawater in order to fill the growing hydrographic deficit. Although rainfall is naturally limited in this western state, a recent calculation suggests that the 2012-2014 drought events have brought the worst dry seasons in the past 1200 years.

Custom vessels to fit each industry

Process conditions are crucial when selecting the most adapted pressure vessel, but each industry has specific requirements that must be fulfilled, as well as characteristics that influence the election of the technology and its components. The pharmaceutical or food industries often require containers with polished surfaces and an easy-to-clean design, particularly during CIP operations. The chemical and petrochemical industries are dealing in many cases with extreme temperatures and pressure conditions, as well as highly corrosive products. Other kinds of equipment, such as pressure valves installed on boat decks or oil platforms, must be developed with the correct housing and coating in order to withstand extreme environmental conditions.

The importance of choosing the right material, shape and construction process is key to building the soul of a pressure vessel. Desalination industry works with a corrosive and highly abrasive substance: salt. Therefore, products and sensors highly resistant to corrosion are required. Equipment installed in areas with vibrations may have to be assembled in specific conditions with separate electronics. In high humidity areas and tropical climates, equipment designed especially for these conditions is the best option. However, versatile materials allow a pressure vessel to fit any industrial sector or requirement. Knowledge of the conditions in a process is fundamental.

All of Protec’s products are designed and manufactured in accordance with the ASME Code, the most reputed International Safety Standard Regulation upon Fiber Reinforced Plastic Pressure Elements, drawn up decades ago specially for fiber reinforced plastic pressure vessels. Although their specialty is pressure vessels for desalination processes, Protec manufactures pressure systems and containers for multiple fields of application, such as vessels for pre-conditioned air unit ducts to supply planes parked in an airport and connected to the terminal with a Passenger Boarding Bridge (PBB), better known as “fingers”.

Protec Arisawa is the global leader in custom fiber reinforced plastic pressure vessels for membrane filtration systems. With high-tech industrial facilities in Europe and America, Protec Arisawa is currently seeking to expand the company’s field of activity to more mainstream markets and applications.

 

8” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa

8” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa

9” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa

9” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa

8” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa

8” Vessel Diameter protec arisawa

Reverse Osmosis: the power to dominate the ocean

The ability to transform salted oceans in drinkable water is perhaps the greatest achievement in terms of human livelihood. Desalination processes, as well as many other expertise progressively improved by mankind over thousands of years, have known their major breakthroughs during the last century. Not so long ago, in 1828, a medical and physician French researcher named Henri Dutrochet turned science and investigation upside down when discovering the osmotic phenomenon such as we know it today. Even the theories about the actual functioning of life itself suffered sweeping changes: thanks to semipermeable membranes and natural variances of concentration between two solutions, Dutrochet proved that fundamental laws of physics and chemistry (and therefore mathematics) were able to clarify life’s most basic processes. However, almost 50 years were necessary to develop the first successful artificial membranes, which opened the door to further and ambitious fields of research.

Henri-DutrochetThe beginning of the 20th century threw some light on the subject, and scientists settled the basic concept of “chemical energy of a solution”. Physiochemical science as an independent discipline was born, laying the foundations for future thermodynamics chemical theories that could offer explanations to the osmotic phenomenon and, first and foremost, help understand osmotic pressure as the difference between chemical energy of two solutions.

After World War II, global issues changed in a definitive way. Pollution, overcrowding and water contamination emerged as future’s major natural challenges. Fossil fuels low prices set the tone in development of first desalination plants, based on evaporation of sea water. These techniques, although very versatile and robust, were actual energy guzzlers, squandering up to 20 kWh / m3 in most cases. Furthermore, it was impossible to ignore that this kind of water treatment facilities used huge amounts of coal and fuel to produce steam, so the environmental issue became a compelling and legitimate reason to definitely discard the evaporation option.

The proposition of reverse osmosis by Charles E. Reid in 1953, dismissed at first instance, was the future key to dominate the seas. However, seawater reverse osmosis desalination procedures were called to depend on extremely complex membrane systems that gradually purify salt water piped straight from the ocean. Step by step, technology finally permitted to build membranes capable to handle saline solutions, and the world’s first commercial reverse osmosis plant came into existence in 1963 in Coalinga (California, USA), with a new pilot program that lured the attention of water engineers and governments around the world.

osmiosisThe innovations and discoveries occurred along the last decades have made membrane technology efficient and affordable, converting clean water in an accessible good for many heavy industries. Today, reverse osmosis and membrane filtration components are utilized for thousand of different applications, and whole cities and countries survive thanks to desalted water.

Nowadays, new membrane technologies have completely displaced the old desalination systems based on water evaporation (both Multi-Stage Flash and Multiple-Effect Distillation). In addition, some new processes allow for recycling worn out membranes. The arguments that glimpse reverse osmosis desalination as the technology humanity will use for decades are strongly convincing. Refinement in all stages of the procedures makes this technique greener, economical and comfortable day by day. Now, Saudi Arabia is projecting the construction of the first solar powered desalination plant… Future is already here.

Protec Arisawa is the global leader in creating and manufacturing fiber reinforced plastic pressure vessels for membrane filtration systems. The Carlsbad water treatment plant (California), the largest and most technologically advanced seawater desalination plant in the USA, utilizes Protec pressure vessels in order to reach the highest effectiveness.

world-market-arisawa

The world, still our market

Protec’s worldwide unique expertise in high-pressure vessels starts more than 60 years ago in Mungia, a small town located in the Basque Country, in northern Spain. After decades manufacturing plastic, resin, glass fiber and polymer, today Protec is the world leader in high-pressure vessels for desalination while the company seeks new business opportunities in unexplored fields.

At the beginning of the new millennium global industrial flows were changing so fast that Protec resolved to specialize its production in order to face the fierce competition from new markets. The decision was taken: high-pressure vessels would be the new leading product of the company. These high-tech devices consist in pipes designed to protect sophisticated membranes required in water treatment processes and desalination plants. It proved to be an excellent choice. The Basque enterprise worked hand in hand with some of the world’s largest engineering firms in the deployment of desalination plants around the world. This success did not go unnoticed. The Arisawa Manufacturing Corporation – the only ASME certificate holder of the FRP pressure vessel in Japan- acquired Protec in 2010: a new and promising partnership was born, reaching a €21-million turnover record.

Unfortunately, nobody was able to predict that business would nosedive in 2011. The growth of global industrial market and new overseas competitors put the company on the ropes. Once again, the solution came through research, innovation and design. The Basque company worked side by side with a Japanese team to develop an accurate innovation project in order to cut costs down and remain competitive on the worldwide scene. These action guidelines have been Protec’s leitmotiv since then. After an exhaustive study of every detail of the pressure vessels down to the last millimeter and improving each component, it was unanimously agreed that the fabrication process had to be changed altogether: no more machined parts, molding is the future. As a result, Protec is the world leader in high-pressure vessel for desalination applications.

Be Business

In addition to reverse osmosis vessels, pharmaceutical equipment and superconductive material among other cutting-edge products, Protec is now working on its strategy to step into the food and drink industry, as well as into the oil and gas sector and other areas requiring water treatment equipment. Now the company works in an unexplored field: jet bridges or “fingers”, the connector which most commonly extends from an airport terminal gate to an airplane.

With leading industrial facilities in USA and Europe, Protec Arisawa is the only pressure vessel manufacturer managing two production centers. A major proof of Protec Arisawa’s reactiveness and flexibility is the absence of standard vessel models. Using the latest technologies enables the construction of complete installations, produced in a smaller, faster and compact scale, raising Protec as a composite expert manufacturer able to provide innovating solutions for most industrial and engineering sectors that require alternative and creative developments with these pieces of equipment. Of course, Protec’s production complies with the worldwide recognized ASME standards. An expert Japanese team carries out weekly improvement tests on products, constantly optimizing their high-quality level, strength, weight and competitiveness. A perfectly coordinated international work group ensures effective lead times reduced to only three weeks from first contact to the delivery date, as well as personalized assistance and problem solving services.

According to sector’s experts, the future of high-pressure vessels lies in Asia and Australia. Nowadays China and India are the largest markets in the region, due to increasing demand for electricity and power generation capacity additions. As the world is Protec Arisawa’s natural market, the company will certainly be up to the task up to the task and is currently taking steps to strengthen the brand’s name in South East Asia and Australia.

Protec Arisawa is present in some of the busiest airports in Europe

FRP Vessels are not only used in the Water Treatment Field and Protec Arisawa is also present developing and acting in different applications far away from the most usual ones.

One of those fields is the design and production of Pre-Conditioned Air units (PCAs) conductions for planes parked in the airport and connected to the terminal with Passenger Boarding Bridges (PBBs) for the last 2 decades. In this case, there´s a structure of 3 vessels connected and perfectly airproof to provide the selected temperature in the airplane cabin with its engines off.

The vessels combination has an independent automatic system to recover the internal hosepipe following the movements by the finger in the coupling maneuver with the plane fully integrated in the vessel structure. In the very end the vessels count with elements to house the flexible connections to be connected to the plane.

The vessels have a complex internal composite structure to allow their own smooth movements within the other ones in a telescopic motion, providing at the same time a perfect tightness avoiding any air leaks and reducing, hence, the energetic cost of providing the plane with the right temperature at every movement.

fingers-1According to the specific finger design specifications, the vessel structure can have up to 3 different bodies which can be extended to their maximum length in case of need. Both the finger and the AC piping structure are connected to the terminal and the AC engine with a global element allowing both elements to swing to adequate and adapt themselves to the plane positioning, reducing the adapting effort for the flexible elements.

Protec Arisawa has the trust and prestige earned after almost 20 years experience in this field, being Protec products present in some of the busiest airports in Europe, spending a good deal of R&D effort on adapting ourselves to the newest finger generations and air traffic global industry requirements.

Protec Arisawa presure vessels in Campo Dalía
Protec Arisawa pressure vessels in Campo Dalías

Veolia Water Technologies has just inaugurated Campo Dalías, one of the biggest desalination plant in Europe. So as to built the plant, it has been required a total of 12,810 membranes and the construction of 41 km of distribution pipelines.

Protec Arisawa has taken part in the project suppling 1.398 pressure vessels of 8” diameter and 1200psi design pressure and 425 pressure vessels of 8” diameter and 1000psi  design pressure.

Protec Arisawa is the global leader for the design and the manufacturing of Fiber Reinforced Plastic Pressure Vessels for membrane filtration systems. With three production sites located on three different continents and over 40 years of experience in filament winding, Protec Arisawa is your supplier of choice when it comes to selecting high-quality pressure vessels with leading technology.

Protec Arisawa will supply vessels to Agadir plant

Protec Arisawa will produce the pressure vessels for Agadir desalination plant. Abengoa affiliated company, Abengoa Water, has relayed on Protec Arisawa for the production and provision of the pressure vessels for the plant which, once finished, will become the biggest desalination plant in Moroco.

The plant will use the most modern ultra filtration pre-treatment systems and reverse osmosis technology to desalinate sea water. The plant will supply 100,000 m3/day of drinking water to more than 800,000 people in the region. It will also ensure the drinking water supply and water security in the zone, further contributing to the development of the tourism and agricultural industries that are the main economic drivers of this region.

Protect Arisawa will supply a sum of 928 pressure vessels designed and produced following the ASME Code. Depending on the model each vessel will be three or four side ported designed and produced out of superduplex stainless steel so as to avoid corrosion.

Protec Arisawa has produced and supplied pressure vessels for the biggest desalination plants that Abegona Water has developed lately around the world.

  • Barka desalination plant in Oman: 45.000m3/day
  • Chennai desalination plant in India: 100.000m3/ day
  • Honaine desalination plant in Algeria: 200.000m3/ day
  • Qingdao desalination plant in China: 100.000m3/ day
  • Skikda desalination plant in Algeria: 100.000m3/ day
  • Tenes desalination plant in Algeria: 200.000m3/ day