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.