Time to upgrade Carlsbad SWRO design to NF-SWRO Hybrid ?

Dr Ata M Hassan, Blue Revolution Foundation, USA

Aerial view of Carlsbad plant location

Aerial view of Carlsbad plant location

The Carlsbad seawater reverse-osmosis (SWRO) desalination plant in California has been endeavoring to get started for more than a decade. During this wait, which now looks as if it could end this summer, has technology passed it by? Engineering proposals are now being invited for the similar plant at nearby Huntington Beach.

The author puts forward a novel proposal that San Diego County would get a better deal from Carlsbad with the upgraded performance of a nanofiltration-SWRO hybrid with the reject treated using multi-effect distillation (MED). This RO/MED hybrid idea is under development by several groups, including Saline Water Conversion Corporation, Leading Edge Technologies, Sasakura and Water Reuse Promotion Center. The merits of the idea for Carlsbad or Huntington Beach would require evaluation of availability of steam for the MED process.

This article first appeared in the May/June 2012 issue of Desalination & Water Reuse magazine.

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