Seafront lab for Indian desalination research

A desalination research laboratory is to be part of a seafront research facility to be set up in the Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh by India’s National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT), an autonomous institute under the Ministry of Earth Sciences.

Although the institute has substantial desalination experience, more optimisation is required on components that go into thermal cycle and vacuum systems for large-scale production and commercialisation of these applications. This is possible only if the institute sets up a seafront facility.

Established in 1993, the institute has rapidly grown its activities on its 50-acre (20 ha) campus in Chennai and now wants to scale up various research initiatives that it started in smaller laboratories. NIOT is now working on low-temperature thermal desalination, deepsea technologies, remotely operable vehicles and deepsea submersibles, ocean observation systems and ocean acoustics.

NIOT’s Low Temperature Thermal Desalination flash-evaporates warm surface seawater at low pressure and condenses the resulting vapour using cold deep-sea water. Starting from a small laboratory-based 5 m³/d capacity scale model, the group has successfully commissioned a 100 m³/d land-based plant at Kavaratti and a 1,000 m³/d barge-based desalination plant floating off the coast of Chennai.