Problem in Paradise: Solving a Water Crisis
Across the globe, the number of people with access to safe water – the most basic human right – is increasing. In 2020, 74% of the world experienced safely managed drinking water services – up from 70% in 2015. However, that leaves around two billion people living without clean drinking water, with the majority of those people living in rural and more geographically isolated areas.
Toray’s ROMEMBRA™ RO and TORAYFIL™ UF membrane technologies have been selected for a new seawater desalination facility in Brazil, which is set to become the largest in the country. ArcelorMittal (brasil.arcelormittal.com), currently the largest producer of steel in the world, contracted Fluence Corporation (fluencecorp.com) for the design, engineering, and construction contract through an international tender process. With the plant in place, Fluence would then install innovative reverse-osmosis (RO) technology developed by Japan’s Toray to remove contaminants from seawater by pumping it through a semipermeable membrane. This membrane – made up of synthetic polymers and specifically designed for seawater desalination – requires less energy to filter out sodium and other microscopic particles but produces much safer drinking water than alternative processes.
“Water quality can be easily controlled, and we’re able to identify the need for maintenance or replacement of the Toray membranes by monitoring the accompanying instrumentation,” explained dos Santos.
Once the plant and new pump sets on the island were up and running in 2021, clean-water production increased almost five-fold, with capacity jumping to 72 cubic meters of water per hour (m³/h), compared with 15 cubic meters per hour previously
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