Durban is getting a desalination plant that costs R600m
As drought continues to deplete the country’s water reserves, eThekwini has made significant inroads in tackling the crisis.
The municipality will join forces with a Japanese organisation to build Africa’s first energy-saving desalination plant.
eThekwini last week signed a memorandum of agreement with Japan’s New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organisation (Nedo) to build the R600-million plant. The pilot project has been described by the city as “energy-saving and environmentally-friendly water-desalination technology”, as it will use 30% less energy than conventional desalination methods.
Desalination is the process of removing salts and minerals from water to make it suitable for both human consumption and industrial use.
Project manager Devan Govender yesterday said eThekwini had been granted funding by Nedo, the world’s largest government-based public organisation and which funds major infrastructure projects in developing countries.
The energy-saving desalination technology is set to be the first in Africa.
Govender said the project would be the municipality’s largest demonstration project. “It’s going to be a 6.52-megalitres-a-day demonstration plant. The grant funding involved a pre-feasibility study and a demonstration plant.
“The pre-feasibility study was to compare conventional desalination to the environmentally-friendly technology from Japan. The feasibility study shows clearly that the power consumption is 30% less than the conventional desalination simply because there’s the element of re-use involved,” he said.
The demonstration plant will be built in the central water treatment works on the Bluff. “It’s a beautiful site. We have access to the ocean there and we have a sea outfall in that plant. It’s basically three boxes we’re ticking compared to conventional desalt.
“The clear issue is with the brine, because the salt has to be pumped back and here, because of the technology it uses, there’s a process of re-use involved.”
He added that the R600 million was for the infrastructure, and the city would foot the bill for the year-long demonstration after construction.
Source: The Mercury Newspaper
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