Challenges of Climate change
It was not so long ago that regular and sustained water shortages in Europe were very much confined to certain regions in the southern countries. In recent years, however, even areas where water has been traditionally abundant have been confronted with significant challenges. There is no doubt that climatic changes have played the biggest role in this new world in which we find ourselves, but as usual, it is times of stress that highlight weaknesses in our infrastructure, administration and policy systems.
In particular, we are now more acutely aware than ever of unnecessary waste, mismanagement and our failure to adequately value something that is crucial to our continued existence. Of course, these issues were already addressed as goals in the UN’s Agenda for Sustainable Development, but suddenly, everyone is paying attention.
Efficient Use of Water Resources to Address Water Scarcity
In tackling water shortages, we are confronted with a simple question: how do we make the most of what we have while preserving our environment and safeguarding resources for future use? Naturally we need to answer this in a way that minimizes energy costs (another factor that has suddenly become more critical), solid waste and GHG emissions.
One area which will play a key part in the solution is to find ways to use and reuse water more efficiently. In taking raw water or wastewater feed and treating it so that it can be used, recycled or utilised in other processes there is no doubt that membrane technology will play a big part.
Membrane Treatment Solutions for a Positive Impact
Reverse Osmosis membrane systems present one of the most cost-effective and reliable ways to purify a water stream. But here’s the kicker: many membrane systems themselves are simply not well operated, demonstrate unnecessarily high energy consumption or have scope for significant water efficiency improvements. Membrane systems are simultaneously part of the problem as well as the solution.
The good news is that with proper understanding and suitable treatment these issues can all be addressed.
Increasing the recovery rate of an RO system increases the amount of water produced and reduces the discharge offering a double benefit to system operators. Even small increases can have massive implications over time, if a system is running close to continuously.
Sounds too easy? Well, as you probably guessed, it’s not quite that simple. Changing the operational conditions of a reverse osmosis system can have real implications for scale, fouling and permeate quality, and it is not a decision that should be taken lightly.
Kurita’s Innovative Membrane Treatment Solutions to Create Shared Value
Fortunately, Kurita have the expertise to analyse both the hydrodynamic implications and the scale challenge. Our range of formulated Vitec™ antiscalant products allows us to push recovery rates to levels that generic chemicals cannot go, and our Advisor™ Ci software makes it easy to map out safe operating envelopes.
Even where increasing recovery is not possible, however, water efficiency can often be improved by optimizing system processes such as cleaning and backwashing. Reducing the need for cleaning saves water and ensures energy efficiency and when membranes do foul, Kurita’s Kuriverter® IK and RoClean™ series can recover and maintain performance.
It’s everyone’s responsibility, whether as an organization or an individual, to ensure that we minimize waste and maximise our water resources, but it takes commitment, application, and know-how. It’s one of the most powerful ways in which Kurita is helping Reverse Osmosis system operators all over the world extract maximum value from their assets, meet their sustainability goals and make genuine cost savings.