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Setting up a Seawater Desalination plant using Reverse Osmosis Technology A consultants perspective. Authors: D.K.Basu, Manoj Kumar, P.K.

. Sinha, Vani Vangari, P. Vinay Kumar - MECON LIMITED

Abstract: The need for sustainable technologies for the supply of drinking water for the ever increasing demand of human consumption has been an ever intriguing topic among the planners and policy makers on various parts of the planet. It is this initiative that has driven them to explore various technologies of producing potable water from water sources of varied natures. During the quest for viable technologies for usable water production various technologies were explored upon and were implemented depending on the availability and suitability of the technology for various applications. Sustainability in water production, where the constant availability of source of water for producing usable water plays a pivotal role, the eternal sea has come to the rescue of human kind. Technologies for transforming sea water to usable water were developed but were highly energy intensive and were the luxuries of only the countries with abundant energy supply. It is not until the early 1960s that Desalination of sea water through membrane processes has shown up its face to the world to be a promising technology after tremendous research has gone into making the process of water production through reverse osmosis economically viable in the field of sustainable water production fit for human consumption. It will be equally fascinating to know the procedures that would and should be employed, the inputs that would go into the process of setting up a sea water desalination plant with reverse osmosis technology in the view point of a technology consultant, which is the essence of this paper. This paper illustrates the above points and gives a classic case study of the 100 MLD sea water desalination plant currently under execution at Nemmeli, Tamilnadu, India in purview of the topic.


Introduction Desalting sea water through membrane process essentially involves the processes of drawing the sea water into the plant, pre-treat the water to make it suitable for passing it through the reverse osmosis modules where the water is relieved of its excessive salt content and post treat the water to be in conformance with the quality of the water required by the end user. The process of sea water reverse osmosis generates the product stream (permeate) and a high energy reject stream otherwise commonly referred to as brine, so termed owing to its high salt content which is eventually disposed into the sea after recovering its energy. Hence the major aspects of designing a desalination plant would be the proper intake selection, pretreatment, reverse osmosis scheme and the reject disposal system.


Design aspects for an optimized solution for setting up a desalination plant The key aspects which play a vital role in design of Desalination plant are the site selection, intake system, pretreatment, RO section & post treatment and the reject disposal systems.


Site selection for the plant The primary concern for setting up of any plant is the proper site selection. Desalination facilities shall be located as close to the raw water source as possible in order to avoid excessive pipeline or pumping costs of feed and reject water so as to minimize operation and maintenance costs of pumping and gravity flow should be used as far as possible. Most of the sea water desalination plants operating throughout the world consider this cost advantage of being located near to the source of raw water and were set up in the nearby provinces of the sea as it is a permitted industry to be set up on the sea coast. The site to be selected for desalination facility should have accessibility by various means considering construction, operation & maintenance of plant. Another major factor that should be duly considered in the suitability of the site selection is the availability and consistency of sea water in terms of the quality and quantity which has a direct implication on the design of pretreatment and RO section. The selected site for the desalination plant to the extent possible shall be free of harbor activities and external inflows in the nearby vicinity that would affect the water quality for pretreatment system design.


The intake for the plant The intake design for any desalination plant is a key factor in ensuring plant availability and reliability as it would form the basis of the optimized and reliable pretreatment scheme to be selected for the reverse osmosis process. The kind of intake for a plant not only addresses the issue of ample availability of water at all times but also the consistent quality characteristics of the feed water that would be drawn into the plant for its lifetime operation. The selection of suitable intake for a desalination plant is guided by factors such as the feed quantity and quality requirements of the plant and the fluctuations w.r.t TSS, TDS etc. The two key types of intakes used for seawater reverse osmosis (RO) desalination plants are beach well (subsurface intakes) and open surface intakes. Beach well intakes Beach wells are located on the seashore, in close proximity to the sea. They are relatively simple to build and the seawater collected is already to some extent pretreated via slow filtration through the subsurface seabed formations in the area of source water extraction. Therefore, source seawater collected using beach well intakes is usually of better quality in terms of consistency and solids, silt, oil and grease, natural organic contamination and aquatic micro-organisms as compared to open seawater intake. Sometimes, beach well intakes may also yield source water of lower salinity. However it is seen that the beach wells are generally suited for relatively small SWRO desalination plants. There are a number of key factors that have to be taken into consideration when assessing the viability of beach well intake for large desalination plants as given below:

a) Transmissivity/productivity of the seashores geological formation b) Thickness of the beach deposits and the existence of nearby fresh water source aquifiers which could be negatively impacted by the beach well operations for large desalination plants. c) Beaches of shallow bays near the desalination plant contain significant amount of mud/alluvial deposits and have a limited natural flushing ability of the beach wells.

High content of fine solids in bay seawater in combination with low frequency of bay flushing and low transmissivity of the beach deposits make shallow bay beaches less desirable or unsuitable for construction of beach well intakes for large SWRO plants. If beach well intake is feasible then the pretreatment unit of desalination plant becomes simpler and the chemical consumption is reduced to a large extent since seawater feed derived from a well-designed subsurface intake well requires minimum pretreatment. The feed obtained from these wells tends to be of high quality feed with an SDI as low as 2 or less. In view of the above, onshore studies and pumping tests shall be conducted to study the feasibility of a beach well. If beach well is found not feasible, then open sea intake will be selected. Open sea intake Due consideration shall be given for adequate & consistent feed flow and feed water quality over entire life of desalination plant. The plant shall be designed to minimize the effect of variations in feed water quality on plant operations. In seawater open intake system, the intake has to be located at a sufficient depth to avoid sediment from bottom being entrained by wind and waves. The depth of the intake and disposal to be provided should be sufficient to provide clearance for navigation, minimize entrainment & impingement of marine organisms that takes place during water drawl reducing the effect on the aquatic ecosystem. a) b) Intake point shall be located at a sufficient distance from the reject disposal point to prevent shortcircuiting. The same to be decided based on the current and tidal studies conducted at site. Drawing water from the sea from an area at a distance from the shore, unaffected by inflows from the land leads to more consistent salinity; lower suspended solid, entrainment and impingement of marine organisms is important consideration in the intake design. The efficient and adequate selection in the intake design shall help in the reduction of the extent of pretreatment equipment. The plant requires a reliable source of water of consistent quality. The feed water salinity, suspended solid loads and organic content are the determining factors in the selection of pretreatment systems and RO recovery and for consistent working of the plant. The intake head location depth having clear sea water depth has to be selected that will ensure reliable and consistent quality of feed water supply considering the low tide level. At this depth a fluctuation in the feed water quality parameters and impact on flora and fauna shall be minimum.


d) e)

It is always preferable to lay the pipeline below the sea bed for enhanced life of intake pipelines. High density polyethylene pipelines is preferably used for the Intake pipeline because of high flexibility and ease in construction, low maintenance, have a low C value thereby lesser pressure drop, a lower tendency for bio-growth, self cleaning and have no ingredients detrimental to the life of membrane elements.


Optimized number of intake pipeline shall be opted based on required plant availability in the event of pipeline choking and pipeline installation costs considering the self cleaning velocity for no growth inside the pipe.


Channel intakes do not promise a consistent and reliable raw water quality as it draws water from the surface, demanding more extensive pretreatment schemes with increased plant capital cost and hence is not a preferred option.


The intake should be planned from a flowing water source rather than stagnant water.

The following marine offshore studies shall necessarily be carried out for providing information in the design and laying of pipelines for sea water open intake.


Marine characteristics Prediction of design basis flood level and effluent dispersion characteristics in the sea call for data on waves, tides, seawater temperature, salinity and bathymetry. Such data are gathered for the construction of a SWRO plant. For a SWRO desalination plant, data on coastline mapping, HTL & LTL, beach profiles, bathymetry and land survey, tide and currents, soil characteristics are to be generated. Bathymetric studies include seismic study, side scan survey, float trajectory, current measurements, chart datum level, analysis of sea sediments etc. The results obtained are used as base to estimate the Design Basis Flood (DBF) level, for laying of pipe lines for intake and discharge arrangement, SWRO plant design and for brine dispersion analysis of the SWRO discharge. Marine biological studies Marine biological studies form the important part in the design of reject dispersion model and intake water quality keeping in view that there is no adverse effect on the marine eco system as well as on the desalination plant operation. Marine biological studies such as Plankton studies, primary productivity studies, benthic studies, nekton studies, beach flora and fauna studies, microbial analysis in water and sediment etc are to be carried out. Wave Currents: Since the sea currents play a major role for dispersion of brine solution which is discharged into the sea, the behavior of the current at the site is to be measured during the study period at least at two locations. The wave current data forms the basis for design and construction of intake and outfall pipeline system including design of ballasts and their inter distance. Tides: Mean Sea Level (MSL) design basis is decided based on the high tide & low tide level reported in the field studies. Tidal velocity is another important parameter required for design and construction of intake and outfall pipeline system including design of ballasts and their inter distance . Bathymetry: Bathymetric studies are carried out to arrive at the under water depth at various distances from the sea shore into the sea. Bathymetric study provides information of the variation in sea bed level beneath the sea water surface with respect to the distance from the shore. Bathymetric studies form the basis for the design of intake and outfall piping systems in terms of the distance to which the pipelines have to be laid under water. Side scan surveys: In general Side Scan Sonar surveys are needed for identifying the items viz., anchors, rocks and shipwrecks lying on the seafloor which are obstacles for dredging and navigations. This survey is also carried out to investigate the sea bed strata and identifying prior hand of any hard rock or substance which may be a hindrance for submarine pipeline construction activities. In case the results of side scan survey w.r.t bed strata requires to be confirmed, the same can be done by direct survey methods like jet probing, bore log etc. This survey can be undertaken for the region having water depth more than 3 metres as the minimum submergence needed for the tow vehicle sensor is not less than 3 metres. Float studies: The study gives indication of the existence of swirl or obstructions in the sea or any turbulence in the vicinity of the proposed site.

Sediment analysis: Sedimentation analysis involves the study of sediments and the mechanisms by which they are transported, eroded, and deposited. The analysis of transport, erosion, and deposition of sediments, behavior and characteristics of sediment beds, sediment composition for specific applications shall determine dredging needs, extent of erosion and/or deposition.

The sea water characteristics The fate of the Desalination plant would offer itself to the characteristics of the sea with respect to various aspects like the salinity content variation, suspended solids, organics and presence of other ionic species, contaminants like oil, grease etc. , temperature ranges, availability of sea bed for suitable intake construction, hydrodynamics of the sea and the marine life that inhabits the sea. With all the above factors into the purview above studies coupled with sea water sampling for various ionic concentrations like Ca ,Mg ,B , Be ,Carbonates ,sulfates silicates, bicarbonates and TOC , oil content , turbidity , total suspended solids content ,particle size distribution and radioactive content etc. are necessarily to be carried out for the sea water to ensure a reliable working desalination plant. Special consideration shall be given to the analysis of toxic ions such as Ar, Hg, B etc. as their presence may have profound effect on the reverse osmosis scheme to be employed. The data delineating seasonal fluctuations of the above sea water parameters throughout the year would contribute to the optimum design of Sea water desalination plant and hence it is preferable to plan a project so that complete one year data covering all the four seasons are available at the least . Temperature and salinity: Based on the sea water historical temperature & salinity variation data and sea water sampling, the design temperatures and salinity levels can be decided.

2.2.2 Onshore Site studies In addition to the above, the following onshore site studies are to be carried out to ascertain various aspects for proper site selection and construction of the plant facilities. Geology study of the area: The study is required to establish the geological setup of the area. It gives the details of the nature of rocks, location of the bed rocks and types of soil that characterize the area. Topographic survey: The topographic survey is carried out to gather survey data about the natural and manmade features of the land, as well as its contours. The topographic map is used to understand the contours of the selected site and is useful in the preparation of the plant layout. Tectonics and seismicity: Seismic data pertaining to the plant area or the near by provinces is obtained to identify the classification of the seismic zone under which the area falls and depending on the vulnerability of the area to earthquakes site selection is carried out to assure safe conditions. Engineering geology The engineering geological studies are carried out to identify the effect of geology on the manmade structures and to provide engineering solutions to ensure safe conditions for the plant. The proposed site shall be evaluated for geologic hazards, geotechnical, material properties, landslide and slope stability, erosion, flooding, dewatering, and seismic investigations, etc.

Flood levels: Based on the flood level information and rainfall data the finished floor level of the Desalination plant shall be arrived at . The flood levels encompass the maximum water level rise in sea above Chart Datum, tides, storm surge and wave run up at the selected plant location.


The Pretreatment Process selection The scheme for pretreatment will be designed suiting to the sea water feed quality and shall account for the fluctuations in the feed water quality parameters such as settle able and suspended solids content, pH, TOC and biological activity. Pre-treatment serves to reduce fouling potential, increase reverse osmosis membrane life, maintain performance level and to minimize scaling on the membrane surface.

Pre-treatment can be divided into two groups: i) Physical pre-treatment ii) Chemical pre -treatment. Physical pre-treatment: Physical pre-treatment is responsible for mechanical filtration through screening, cartridge filters, sand filters or membrane filtration. In the past, most reverse osmosis plants used conventional pre-treatment, which is defined as chemical and physical pre-treatment without the use of membrane technologies. Conventional pretreatment is a combination of physical & chemical pretreatment in most of the cases using two stage filtration comprising of flocculation, settling, sand filtration, pressure filtration followed by cartridge filtration. With declining raw water quality, beach well inadequacy for large desalination plants and decreasing membrane costs, the use of membrane pre-treatment prior to the reverse osmosis stage is being adopted in the modern plants as an alternative to conventional pretreatment. Membrane pretreatment is essentially a physical pre treatment process and is directly guided by the molecular weight cut off. Micro and Ultra-filtration membranes are alternative options to conventional pretreatment and membrane pre-treatment has rapidly grown in the last few years. The membrane pretreatment has distinct advantage of smaller foot print area, less chemical consumption and indirectly lesser effect on the marine eco system due to reject disposal, silt density index less than 2 (parameter which has direct bearing on RO membrane life and chemical cleaning frequency)and less consumption of energy. The extent of pre-treatment depends on the feed water quality which varies with the location of the plant and the intake system. In the ascending order of preference feed sea water from the surface/stagnant water for e.g. channel intakes are more costlier, intricate when compared to open subsurface seawater intakes and beach well, if feasible requires the simplest of pretreatment system. Chemical pre-treatment: The chemical pre-treatment depends on the physical pre-treatment in use. Chemical pretreatment includes the addition of scale inhibitors, coagulants, disinfectants and poly-electrolyte in the upstream of the reverse osmosis stage. The kind of physical pre-treatment significantly influences the amount of chemicals that have to be added into the process stream. Membranes in pre-treatment usually require less chemical addition than conventional pre-treatment whereas conventional pre-treatment is characterized by high consumption of chemicals.

Advanced membrane pretreatment guarantee a low SDI value of the RO feed water even with strong fluctuation of raw water quality, enabling operation with a high and stable permeate flux even in long term operation. Membrane pre-treatment provides high quality feed water to the RO membrane with an SDI consistently less than 2 (90% of the time), allowing operation at higher flux rates reducing total system running cost. Higher RO feed water quality results in reduced fouling of the reverse osmosis element by 75% and thus avoids downtime or production losses. Membrane pre-treatment involves higher investment cost for the pre-treatment facility which is balanced by higher investment costs for the RO stage of the desalination plant using conventional pre-

treatment. RO membrane replacement and overall maintenance cost using membrane pre-treatment decrease due to better RO feed water quality; fewer chemicals and less manpower are required due to highly automated processes which also reduces cost. Hence, plants with strong fluctuations in raw water quality with a high and stable permeate flux requirement call for advanced membrane pretreatment using Ultra filters /micro filters enabling long term operation with high flux rates with enhanced recovery in the RO plant and reduced total system running cost. 2.4 The Reverse Osmosis Configuration Persistent plant availability requires the Reverse Osmosis system design using multiple module configuration coupled with intermediate product storages accounting for maintenance of plant equipment, downtimes for membrane replacement and chemical cleaning. The aspect of decreased energy requirement while providing for increased plant availability requires optimization to arrive at the appropriate RO module configuration. The recovery rate of RO modules inversely affects the size and cost of all pretreatment process equipment and power consumption. For reverse osmosis across the sea water membranes pressurized water is fed into the RO modules and the pressure required is to overcome the osmotic pressure, a function of dissolved solids and membrane resistance. However, in seawater RO systems, the recovery rate cannot be increased beyond a certain limit due to the limitations of the rated pressure of pressure vessels and membranes, as with higher recovery, higher average feed salinity follows, resulting in higher osmotic pressure. The design objective is to produce required permeate salinity and to balance between decreasing equipment cost and increasing power consumption. With increasing recovery rate the equipment size and cost decreases due to lower feed flow. However, the specific power consumption initially decreases with increase in recovery rate but then reaches a minimum and eventually increases. This is due to the necessity to operate RO membranes at higher feed pressure with increasing osmotic pressure at a higher recovery rate. Further at higher feed pressures the scaling tendency of RO membranes increases escalating membrane maintenance costs. Change in feed water temperature results in the change in the rate of diffusion through the membrane. As water temperature increases, water flux increases almost linearly, primarily due to the higher diffusion rate of water through the membrane but the requirements of pressure energy decreases. However increased feed water temperature also results in lower salt rejection or higher salt passage. The system recovery rate has to be optimized with respect to membrane performance specific to site conditions , process economics and the design TDS (total dissolved solids content) and raw water temperature . Hence it is necessary to have fairly accurate data of maximum TDS and minimum temperature that may occur during the plants life cycle operation for optimized design. Increased recovery rates for lower TDS feed water, thereby lower osmotic pressure in the feed can be achieved by designing a two stage RO system or a combination of two pass - two stage system. In recent years, the requirement for low Boron concentrations in RO permeate has been another important parameter to be considered in designing seawater RO systems. Beside the development of new RO membranes with improved Boron rejection, there are also other design options which can help to achieve required product quality. One of such options is two pass RO design. Two pass RO system which yields low TDS is coupled with mixed bed exchangers for the production of demineralised water of boiler feed quality for thermal power plants. In case the product water quality requirement can accommodate high TDS then optimization can be done by suitable blending .The optimum design can be envisaged with the availability of accurate maximum boron concentration that may occur during its operating life. While the permeate comes out of the RO module at atmospheric pressure/the back pressure required for transfer to the permeate storage tank the reject contains pressure energy as it comes out at the feed pressure minus pressure drop across the module which is maximum 2 bar. For an energy efficient SWRO desalination plant the pressure energy in the reject stream requires to be recovered and reused in the system which leads to decrease in the specific power consumption. The development of high efficiency energy recovery devices over the years like

turbochargers, Pressure exchangers and Double work exchangers has fuelled the increased application of RO systems for desalination over other technologies for producing product water with reduced specific power consumption. The criteria for selection of these devices had been high efficiencies, lower operating expenditures, high flexibility in the operational mode and less maintenance. In addition to the energy recovery devices variable frequency drives are selectively adopted so as to optimize the energy consumption w.r.t CAPEX and OPEX as well as to take care of the total dissolved solids variation and feed temperature variation. Another main issue the designer requires to optimize is the specific energy consumption w.r.t CAPEX and OPEX in adopting high pressure pumping system and the back pressure requirement. For enhanced membrane life and trouble free operation any back pressure in the membrane modules is not desirable, however if the design requirement calls for some back pressure for transferring the permeate it to the storage tank, the back pressure should in no case exceed the membrane manufacturer specification. The implication of back pressure requirement should be analyzed by the designer exquisitely.

2.5 The post treatment plant The product water from RO needs to be post treated to make it palatable by the addition of hydrated lime/Calcium carbonate and NaOH to get the desired alkalinity & hardness. Further permeate is very aggressive as it is unsaturated and the same is measured in terms of Langlier Saturation Index (LSI) and has the tendency to dissolve ions of the materials through which it is transported like cement lined pipes or steel pipes . Hence the permeate requires to be re-hardened in order to prevent dissolution of the material of the transporting media like transmission pipes in the distribution network. Additionally the pH value and CO2 content needs to be adjusted to prevent scaling and chlorination is carried out as a disinfection measure. The choice between different processes among application of Hydrated lime and Carbon -dioxide, application of Carbon di oxide & Limestone, application of Hydrated Lime & Sodium Carbonate, application of Sodium bi carbonate and Calcium Sulphate etc. are project specific and depend on issues such as installed capital and operating costs, volume of permeate to be treated, availably & quality and cost of locally available chemicals.


The reject disposal system The reject from the desalination plant is disposed into the sea using suitable diffuser systems so that the salinity at the disposal point shall reach the salinity level of the surrounding sea with in the specified distance of dispersion and have a minimal effect on the marine ecosystem. To avoid an increase in the salinity of the sea water in the area surrounding the discharge point, it is necessary to achieve the dilution level the effluent as quickly as possible through dispersion by suitable diffuser design. The reject disposal system has to be designed taking into account the diffusing properties of brine, the site conditions, sea currents ,waves and the sea environment that could get affected. Accordingly the discharge location for the desalination shall be selected and suitable reject transportation and diffuser system inside the sea is designed with the help of mathematical modeling through computer aided programs. The shore and the sea bottom profiles are also important in that if the site is high above the sea level, the outfall will be by gravity. If this is not the case, a pumping unit will be necessary to disperse the effluent.


Materials of Construction A proper selection of materials of construction is one of the important factors in the efficient and economic operation of a desalination plant. Most of the failures worldwide is attributable either to the use of improper material(s) or poor maintenance or both. With the exception of pumps, low cost non corroding plastic materials, e.g., HDPE, PVC, and GRP are used in both the pretreatment and the post treatment sections of the SWRO plant as they operate at much lower pressures compared to the high pressure RO system. This includes piping, tanks,

valves, joints, filter housing, etc. In large SWRO plants with a conventional pretreatment system, holding tanks and filter housing are made of special concrete structures. For the intake line, HDPE or GRP are the usual materials. To be able to take the high pressure, only special corrosion resistance materials of high strength are used in the RO section of the plant. In an RO system, the corrosion products from a component material can block the membrane surface and adversely affect the efficiency of the operation. Improper selection of materials for a high pressure RO system consisting of pumps, piping and valves and handling high levels of chlorides (22,000 to 36,000 ppm) and dissolved oxygen (5-10 ppm), results in pitting, crevice and stress corrosion. The early SWRO plants were built utilizing 316L in the construction of the high pressure part of the SWRO plant. With the advancement in stainless steel (SS), alloys of newer and more corrosion resistant austenitic and duplex/super duplex steel, SS alloys of high strength are being used along with 316L in the construction of SWRO plants. These SS alloys include 317L, 317LN, 904L, 254SMO plus others. Use of high grade alloys with larger content of chromium and molybdenum in their composition is intended to prevent and combat SS corrosion in seawater environment, mainly the pitting, crevice and stress cracking type corrosion. In any large SWRO plant the major cost involvement is due to the piping and valves cost and the designer requires considering the maintenance aspects, downtime involved losses due to failure and selecting the material of construction of the piping and valve material judiciously. The redundancy aspects in the equipment system for the design of sea water Desalination plant is given due importance providing flexibility of operation to increase the plant availability & reliability for uninterrupted operation considering membrane systems maintenance & downtime w.r.t CAPEX and OPEX. The plant availability, reliability, flexibility and ease in operation and maintenance is given due consideration in the design of SWRO plant. The intermediate storages shall be provided to compensate equipment downtime. The longest period of time that can be required for planned or unplanned maintenance will be established to determine the necessary storage. 2.8 The end user The setup of associated facilities of a Desalination plant like post treatment , two pass RO , ion exchange mixed bed units largely depend on the end user requirements where the RO permeate has to be transformed into drinking water or Boiler feed water or plant utility and process water. Reverse Osmosis plants with potabilisation have come of age to cater to the drinking water quality requirements of various international standards. Reverse Osmosis plants with Ion exchangers(mixed bed) are rife that provide demineralised water to power plants confirming to boiler feed water requirements all over the world.


Execution of a Desalination project: The setting up of the desalination plant facilities requires a series of phase wise studies and preparation of reports and documents based on which the decision for setting up of the plant and its execution is carried out.


Techno economic feasibility Sea water Desalination through the proven state of the art Reverse Osmosis technology has been found to be the most economically viable solution among other alternative technologies like multistage flash, Vapor Compression, multiple effect distillation etc., especially for countries where energy resources werent ample. Further, in water scarce areas the end user needs & requirements are predefined and is usually drinking water which is a necessary household utility or service water for the industrial usage. Hence a separate technoeconomic feasibility report to compare various technology options available for the production of cost effective potable water need not be prepared for plants to be constructed in regions with nominal salt content as the Reverse Osmosis technology coupled with energy recovery provisions is well evident option to choose from for

the well informed technology consultant. However TEFR w.r.t to site selection, plant feasibility is required for taking a decision before making any investment plans. 3.2 Detailed project report Based on the marine studies and feed characteristics, product characteristics , site location ,soil data and selection of pretreatment and post treatment processes and RO design for desalination of sea water, a detailed project report describing the design basis for the selection of the complete plant and equipment viz., the pretreatment scheme employed the reverse Osmosis module configuration with suitable energy recovery option, material of construction of equipment ,piping and valves ,the post treatment plant and the suitable reject disposal system specific to the selected site are prepared considering the techno economic aspects , plant reliability and availability. The detailed project report comprises of basic process design and description, material balances, process flow diagrams, Process and instrumentation diagrams, general layout, building GADs ,storage , preparation and dosing tank GADs, SLDs, the plant and equipment list, data sheets of equipment, bill of quantities for items, CAPEX and production cost estimate, and overall plant completion time and activity schedule besides giving information about the maximum power demand for the plant, annual energy consumption, specific power consumption, chemical consumption maintenance and membrane replacement costs ,operation and maintenance manpower etc .The detailed project report shall form the basis for the detailed engineering to be carried out in the subsequent phases of the project execution. 3.3 Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) / Environmental Management Plan (EMP) report: Any industrial activity has an impact on environment. In case of desalination plant, the intake and the brine discharge will have an impact on marine environment during plant operation along with the impact on the environment during construction activities. Hence an EIA/EMP report is prepared based on the filed studies conducted at the proposed plant location which is necessary for clearances to be obtained from the statutory authorities like MOEF, CRZ. 3.4 Preparation of tender documents, detailed design and specification Based on the field studies & data, detailed project report, the tender specification is prepared for finalization of contractor for construction of the plant. The tender documents are prepared based on the modality selected for plant construction and operation i.e., DBO (Design - Build and Operate), BOOT (Build -Own -Operate and Transfer), DBOOT (Design Build Own -Operate and Transfer), Design Engineering Procurement and Construction (EPC - turnkey), Construction on the Pre engineered tender. DBO, BOOT, DBOOT The tender specifications are prepared with the specification of water requirement by the end user in terms of quality and quantity and the operator carries out the basic and detailed design, construction and operation of the plant with the guarantees for water off take and bulk water purchase conditions. The EPC - turnkey tender The turnkey package for the execution of the desalination plant gives the basic details and design basis for the plant and equipment, Technical specifications and requirements of the plant and equipment, tentative PID and process flow diagrams and tentative overall layout for the plant that is supposed to be constructed for attaining the required guarantee parameters set forth in the technical specification. The engineered tender The pre engineered tender for the execution of the Desalination plant covers the complete basic and detailed engineering including the design basis , site data , description of the plant and units, operating conditions, throughput and product capacity, feed and product specifications, design and detail drawings, process flow sheets & material balance diagram, P & IDs , underground submarine pipeline intake & outfall details and alignment


drawings, above ground detail piping drawings , detailed civil, structural, mechanical, & electrical construction drawings, technical specifications , equipment & instrument datasheets and specification drawings, structural design drawings with marking plan, civil and architectural design & detail drawings for plant & non plant buildings including equipment foundations and supports, equipment and plant layout drawings, drive list , single line electrical loop drawings and performance guarantee parameters , and other auxiliary facility details & drawings such as firefighting, air conditioning and ventilation, laboratory, etc. The detail engineering is carried out based on the process and equipment selection and the respective probable vendors (minimum three) for the equipment. Analogous equipment details like foot print, load data are the inputs for carrying out the detailed engineering. Accurate bill of quantities and estimates are prepared which ensures complete parity between the prospective bidders on technical grounds. However some amount of residual engineering is contemplated during the course of construction activities and is carried out based on the final ordered equipment. Another advantage is that the unknown aspects in the tender are negligible and the probability for unnecessary commercial loading. The construction and procurement activities can start from the day one after award of contract thereby leading to shortened time duration for plant completion. The basic and detailed design is frozen before placement of order leaving less room for changes during execution leading to time saving. 3.4.1 Comparison of engineered and turnkey packages The engineered package is a pre worked package where all the details of plant and equipment to be supplied and the construction drawings with detailed BOQ for construction of the plant facilities are available to the erection contractor requiring lesser time for the completion of a plant compared to a turnkey package for the plant of similar capacity. The unknown aspects in the tender are negligible when compared to turnkey package. The time for review and approval of engineering carried out by the contractor shall be subsided to a large extent by going for an engineered package. The possibility of deviating from the technical requirements for the plant is lesser in an engineered package than that of a turnkey package as the alternatives for a given design requirement are predefined in an engineered package. The evaluation time for the bids is considerably lower for a engineered package owing to the predefined technical requirements and does not require the technical parity among the bidders, as compared to that of a turnkey package. The monitoring of the project progress in an engineered package is relatively easier than compared to that of a turnkey package. Incase of turnkey package the delay in engineering reflects on the entire project completion schedule where as in the engineered package such a dependency does not exist. 3.4.2 Case study of a 100 MD SWRO desalination plant at Nemmeli Tamilnadu The Desalination plant at Nemmeli currently under execution is an engineered tender and happens to be the first engineered package of such a high capacity in India. The plant is setup by M/s. Chennai Metropolitan Water Supply and Sewerage board, Chennai, Tamilnadu, India for supplying drinking water to the inhabitants of Chennai city. M/s MECON limited has prepared Detailed Project Report (DPR) including preliminary assessment, onshore & offshore marine studies & data collection for design of sea water intake & outfall, process know- how, technology selection for complete plant & equipment, preparation of basic design, Design basis reports (DBR), cost estimates and assistance to CMWSSB in obtaining approval from Government of India. Basic engineering & process details were furnished by associate consultant of MECON, M/s ADECO Technologies, and Switzerland.


M/s MECON limited carried out detailed engineering consisting of construction drawings for Complete plant & equipment including intake and outfall system, detailed bill of quantities, procurement & erection specifications with datasheets for Technological, Civil, Structural, Electrical & Instrumentation, Material handling, Firefighting, AC & Ventilation etc, equipment & Preparation of engineered Bid document based on the basic & detail design carried out by selecting & integrating equipment having proven credentials in the desalination field through market survey for manufactures of the selected equipment & technology. The engineered bid document consisted detailed specification of plant and equipment for procurement apart from an overall 366 construction drawings of which 86 nos. of Technological drawings, 107 Nos of .Civil drawings, 59 nos. of Structural drawings, 14 nos .of Architectural drawings, 1 No of Instrumentation, 47 Nos of Illumination, 17 Nos of AC & Ventilation drawings, 9 Nos of Electrical power distribution, 22 Nos of Shop electrics, 4 Nos of Mechanical Repair shop & Air compressor drawings The bid document consisted of detailed bill of quantities for respective plant and equipment of the complete SWRO facilities enabling the bidders to scrutinize in association with the detailed drawings and technical specification and arrive at their executable cost. Preferred vendor list with at least three potential vendors for each equipment requirements in totality were provided in the tender document meeting the technical

The timeline for carrying out and completing the field studies basic and detailed design, detailed project report and tender document was seven months. The tendering and order placement was completed in nine months and the construction schedule for commissioning the plant is 24 months.


Conclusion: The requirement of the product of desalination plant is predefined in the water scarce areas as water is an essential commodity for mankind and industries .The optimized design is a key factor for the designers to consider while designing an SWRO plant. To carry out the optimum design fairly accurate field data including raw water characteristics covering all the four seasons is essential along with appropriate site, intake and pretreatment selection for a desalination plant. The plant availability, reliability, flexibility and ease in operation and maintenance is another important factor for design of SWRO plant. Life cycle product cost w.r.t CAPEX and OPEX is the major factor considered in the design and construction of the plant and the execution methodology like DBO (Design - Build and Operate), BOOT (Build -Own -Operate and Transfer), DBOOT (Design Build Own -Operate and Transfer), EPC-turnkey, Construction on the Pre engineered tender is one of the governing factors for working out the techno economics .The execution of a Desalination plant through an engineered tender has a distinct advantage over EPC on turnkey tender in terms of CAPEX and OPEX. However, DBO, BOOT, DBOOT models requires a detailed financial analysis by the financial consultants to arrive at the model for investment. References:

DPR for 100 MLD SWRO project at Nemmeli, Tamilnadu for CMWSSB. Technical specifications for 20 MLD SWRO Desalination plant for 2x500 MW thermal power plant at Tuticorin, Tamilnadu. State-of-the-art of reverse osmosis desalination , Technical paper by C. Fritzmann , J. Lwenberg, T. Wintgens, T. Melin. Options for recarbonation ,remineralisation and disinfection for Desalination plants technical paper by Anthony Withers


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