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Using standard reverse osmosis technology, the Waterfountain system significantly reduces the environmental impact of desalination.
The global demand for fresh water is increasing due to population growth, rapid industrialisation, and more frequent and severe droughts resulting from climate change.
Traditional reverse osmosis desalination plants consume vast amounts of energy and produce a highly concentrated saline brine that is toxic to terrestrial and marine life.
The Waterfountain desalination system is a floating desalination plant with the reverse osmosis membranes suspended 400m below the surface.
Using a low-pressure reverse osmosis process, the Waterfountain is able to pass more seawater through the system than traditional desalination plants on land. As a result, the seawater returned to the ocean by the Waterfountain is 95 per cent less saline than the brine of a traditional desalination plant. This is one of the key ways in which the Waterfountain is more environment-friendly than traditional desalination.
In addition, unlike other types of desalination, the process does not require the use of chemicals. The facility can also be moved at convenience or completely removed. The Waterfountain leaves minimal impact on the landscape after decommissioning, and most of the components can be recycled or reused.
Each Waterfountain facility can produce between 10 000 and 30 000 cubic metres of clean water per day. 30 000 cubic metres of water per day is enough to cover the needs of 40 000 homes that consume 750 litres per day.
The Waterfountain system is well suited for use by water utilities, in industrial production with high water requirements, and for agriculture.
Because the Waterfountain is built on land and then attached to a ship or barge, construction costs are 35 per cent lower than traditional RO desalination plants. Being located offshore, over 90 per cent less land area is needed.
The Waterfountain consumes up to 50 per cent less energy than traditional RO desalination plants. It is a self-contained system and powered by liquified natural gas (LNG) to minimise emissions. The long-term aim is to adapt the system to be powered by floating offshore wind turbines.
Self-contained – does not need to be connected to the public power grid
Lower operating costs and less capital expenditure per cubic metre water capacity
Can be relocated or removed, and has significantly less environmental impact