ERI chief calls for less plant downtime

The new CEO of Energy Recovery Inc (ERI), Tom Rooney, in an interview with Desalination & Water Reuse (D&WR) at the International Desalination Association’s World Congress in Perth, Australia, on 7 September 2011, revealed that the company was now focusing on the issue of plant utilization.

ERI chose the IDA to announce enhancements to its PX Pressure Exchanger™ (PX™) technology for seawater reverse-osmosis systems, including a 97.2% efficiency guarantee.

ERI says that this introduction for the PX-Q300 underscores its ongoing commitment to ensuring that SWRO facilities are free from any costly, unplanned downtime and that their desalination processes use the best economic solution available.

The PX-Q300 device strengthens the efficiency and durability of previous ERI PX energy-recovery devices, ensuring an industry-leading uptime of 99.8%. Additionally, the new device also offers a decrease in sound levels to < 81 dB - for much quieter operations. The downtime theme is one that ERI’s new CEO Tom Rooney is featuring strongly. Rooney told D&WR, “People are overbuilding plants – making them much larger – because they are making up for all the downtime that the plants have to go through.”

“It’s like saying my car’s broken down half the time, so I’m going to have to own two cars,” he explained. “Well, how about you get one car that works all the time so you only need one car?”

Everyone in the desalination industry needed to look at plant uptime, said Rooney, whether it was membranes, pumps or energy-recovery devices.

“Let’s all perfect our portion of the business,” he urged, “such that these plants are able to run 99.9% of the time. That is how this industry in the next five years is going to drop some serious costs.”

The full interview with Tom Rooney will appear in D&WR‘s November/December 2011 issue.