Chennai Lab To Build Desal Plant That Works On Waste Water
The project will have the capacity to generate two million litres of fresh water a day using wastewater produced while generating electricity. Scientists striving to address issues related to energy and water, seem to be in a catch-22 situation. They need to come up with technologies like desalination to tackle water scarcity on the one hand, and, on the other, need copious amounts of fresh water to generate power to run desalination plants.
Now, a team from city-based National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) has come up with an environment-friendly solution where power and potable water can be generated simultaneously using minimal resources. NIOT will build at the Tuticorin Thermal Power Station a low-temperature thermal desalination (LTTD) plant with the capacity to generate two million litres of fresh water a day using wastewater produced while generating electricity. The 40 crore project, to be funded by the ministry of earth sciences. Tenders for the project have also been floated. Purnima Jalihal, head of NIOT’s Energy and Fresh Water Group, said the desal plant will use sea water drawn for the thermal plant as well as the hot wastewater discharged. No seawater will be drawn directly for the desal plant. The hot waste water, around 41 degrees C in temperature, is pumped into a flash chamber kept under vacuum. As it vapourises, it is pushed to a condenser which is cooled down using sea surface water between 28 degrees C and 30 degrees C.
“In our country, many times norms are broken and water that is 7 degrees C to 8 degrees C above ambient seawater temperature is discharged into the sea. In Tuticorin, with a difference of 8-9 degrees between hot waste water and sea water, we will produce freshwater,” she said. The plant is expected to be ready in 18 months. While 1 million litres will be portable, the rest will be of low ppm and sent to the boiler at the power plant. A lot of energy and chemicals are used to treat water in power plants. Here, there is no chemical use,” she said. “At present, the plant uses freshwater from Thamaraparani river depriving locals of drinking water where the plant will generate freshwater for the power plant and potable water for locals.
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