Chinese commercialize sea-ice desalination process

A Chinese company could be producing at least 1 billion m³ of fresh water by desalination of sea ice by 2023, according to a report by the official Chinese news agency Xinhua on 14 January 2013.

The report followed the signing by a research team from Beijing Normal University of a sea-ice desalination technology-transfer agreement with Beijing Huahaideyuan Technology Co Ltd.

The salinity of sea ice is between 0.4-0.8%, much lower than that of seawater, which stands at about 2.8-3.1%, said Professor Gu Wei, head of the research team. The salinity of sea-ice water after desalination is 0.1%, which meets the national standard. The water can be used in agriculture, by industry and for drinking, said the professor.

The research team has mastered the basic principles and technology of sea-ice desalination and developed the equipment to be used in the process, including an ice-breaking platform and an ice-gatherer, he said.

China’s sea ice desalination program started in 1996 when Shi Peijun, a professor from Beijing Normal University, realized that low-saline ice could ease the water shortage around the Pan-Bohai Bay area in north China, after desalination.

The program has received a total of RMB 29.72 million (US$ 4.88 million) from various government departments in the past 18 years.