Modern Water claims first FO commercial desalination contract

UK-based Modern Water has won what is believed to be the first ever forward-osmosis (FO) commercial contract for desalination, following its award of a UK£ 500,000 (US$ 810,000) contract for a 200 m³/d plant by Oman’s Public Authority for Electricity & Water (PAEW).

The plant will be at Al Naghdah in the Al Wusta region.

FO has been used commercially before, principally by HTI Water of Canada, who in 1996 built the world’s first FO dewatering system for a Nutraceutical plant producing blue green algae. Since then HTI has built plants for landfill leachate, water separation (for Boeing) and personal hydration devices, and in 2009 formed a joint venture with Bear Creek Services to commercialize HTI’s FO technology within the oil and gas exploration industry

Modern Water uses FO at the heart of its Manipulated Osmosis process, which it has trialled in Gibraltar and Oman, where the company says it achieved significant cost savings, used less energy and was more reliable than conventional methods, particularly when operating in challenging conditions. The product has been used for drinking water and cooling-tower water.

However, while the company has become a little less secretive about its process, no hard data have yet been published to verify its claims.

Neil McDougall, executive chairman of Modern Water, said: “Winning this tender marks a key milestone for Modern Water, and we would like to extend our appreciation to the chairman and staff of the PAEW for supporting our technology. FO has emerged as a hugely important technological step-change within the desalination industry, and Modern Water has shown how advanced the company is in this critical area.”