Seawater desalination through nanofiltration.

Drawing from 30 years of experience in the application of semipermeable membranes in the development of processes and products, the project director sets forth an alternative for replacing reverse osmosis through two-stage nanofiltration. This represents a viable alternative for seawater desalination, making it possible to obtain drinking water in accordance with current Chilean norms and at lower investment and operating costs compared with reverse osmosis.

This enables the development of a more sustainable process that can be applied in coastal communities with water supply problems and includes the use of renewable energy sources for providing the necessary energy.

The desalination process developed stands out due to its lower cost and the high level of mechanical and chemical resistance of the nanofiltration membranes under operational conditions at lower pressures than those used in conventional reverse osmosis plants. This leads to significantly lower costs in both the investment and operating stages, in addition to the possibility of manufacturing all necessary equipment regionally or nationally. Furthermore, this alternative seawater desalination process makes it possible to obtain water at an intermediate stage of filtration that can be used for various industrially or domestical purposes.

Seawater also contains appropriate quantities of ions necessary for human development and crop nutrition (potassium, magnesium, calcium, sulfates, among others) and the process developed also makes it possible to provide water for different needs, such as drinking water for households and irrigation water for coastal and drought-plagued regions. The goal of this initiative is to contribute to human and social development by solving a problem currently affecting many regions of the world. This technology will undoubtedly enable a better response to water shortage crises that may occur in the future and emergencies resulting from natural catastrophes.

Researcher:
Rodrigo Bórquez Yáñez

Chemical Engineering Department
Faculty of Engineering

Intellectual Property:
Patent application CL201303740

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