Energy Recovery Case Study: Carlsbad Desalination Plant
Helping Launch the Largest Seawater Desalination Plant in the Western Hemisphere
As drought conditions have persisted in California, desalination has become a more attractive option to provide additional fresh water. Furthermore, California reservoir levels have reached historic lows. The state needed to create new sources of fresh water to supply the growing population and increasing industry demand. The Carlsbad SWRO desalination plant in southern California is the largest plant of its kind in the western hemisphere. To make desalination a more environmentally and economically viable option, Energy Recovery supplies the PX Pressure Exchanger, an energy recovery device that recovers pressure energy and reduces the energy requirements of the desalination process. The new Carlsbad Desalination Plant has a capacity of 50 MGD (million gallons per day, or 189,270 m3/day); it is ideally located with proximity to the ocean and co-located with the Encina Power Station. The project will produce up to 10 percent of the fresh water supply for San Diego County. California's first large-scale plant went online in the third quarter of 2015 and will save an estimated 116 million kWh (kilowatt-hours) of energy per year using the PX, the equivalent of $12 million annually. This energy savings will also reduce CO2 emissions by 41,000 metric tons per year roughly the annual greenhouse gas emissions from 8,632 passenger vehicles or 44 million pounds of coal burned.