A new cheaper method for producing drinking water from sea water has been unveiled in Israel. IDE Technologies’ transportable desalination system uses traditional reverse osmosis technology but without the need for chemicals.
The unit, the first of its kind, is housed in a standard, 12-meter-long skid-mounted container and can produce between 500 to 10,000 cubic meters of water per day, depending on the water type, the company said.
That would be enough for a hotel or small village in remote areas or disaster sites that lost water supplies, said Fredi Lokiec, IDE‘s executive vice president for special projects.
“IDE brought to the industry something that is really new and this facility we don’t use any type of chemicals. So it’s completely green — that’s the name, Pro Green — environmentally friendly,” he said.
Israel is two-thirds arid and to deal with its own shortages has become a world leader in water technologies, pioneering new methods of drip irrigation, water recycling and desalination.
Reverse osmosis is a common desalination method where sea water is passed through membranes under high pressure. Usually chemicals are needed to clean the pre-treated water as well as the membranes themselves. Lokiec said IDE developed environmentally friendly biofilters that can do the job instead.
“We don’t use any type of chemicals, so it’s very economical, no … without the troubles of handling chemicals and discharging them back into the environment. That’s the difference and that’s the beauty of this plant,” he said.
IDE would not disclose what each unit costs, but said it is in line with market standards.
Last year the company opened the world’s largest desalination plant to use reverse osmosis in the coastal city of Hadera and is now constructing an even larger plant which will produce 150 million cubic meters of water each year at a cost of around 2.01 shekels (57 cents) per cubic meter.
Once it is completed, over 50 percent of household water use in Israel will come from desalinated sea water.