Desalination & Brine Problem

WORLDWIDE FRESH WATER SHORTAGE

Inadequate clean water is now beyond the crisis stage in many parts of the world fueled by population growth, drought, pollution and soil contamination. Policy makers and water experts throughout the world are desperately searching for newer, safer, cleaner and more affordable ways to sustainably produce fresh water.

Desalination presents an obvious answer to the global water shortage. However, all existing forms of desalination technology pose two major problems: high cost and environmental damage from disposing of brine. Most often, desalination plants discharge brine into the world’s oceans where it is killing marine life and causing catastrophic environmental damage.


EFD is the worldwide patent holder of the only utility scale, environmentally friendly, and low cost desalination technology that eliminates the production of environmentally toxic brine in the desalination process. EFD’s technology can quench the worlds’ need for desalinated water sources without damaging our global environment or marine ecosystem resources.


Current Desalination Technologies

The main technologies used today for desalination and reclaiming polluted or brackish water are Reverse Osmosis and Thermal Distillation. Both systems produce a brine byproduct. For every gallon of fresh water produced by these technologies, over a gallon of environmentally toxic brine byproduct is produced made up of concentrated saltwater mixed with noxious chemicals.

Reverse Osmosis

Reverse osmosis is the process of separating dissolved salt and fresh water by forcing fresh water through an osmotic membrane, leaving a salt concentrate on one side of the membrane and fresh water on the other. This requires substantial amounts of energy to overcome the osmotic pressure and force the water to pass through the membrane. The higher the pressure, the faster the fresh water can pass through the membrane and the higher the energy costs. In addition, all existing RO systems run on electricity, a much more expensive energy source than natural gas.

Thermal Distillation

Thermal distillation processes, such as multi-effects distillation (MED) and multi-stage flash distillation (MFD) utilize a series of stages or effects to heat sea water and capture the desalinated vapor which is condensed into fresh water. While distillation is a widely utilized method of desalination, the process is problematic in several ways. Heating salt water to a boiling point causes the salt to build up around the sides and bottom of the heating chamber, causing scaling that can corrode, plug pipes, and limit heat conductivity resulting in maintenance, operational issues and high operating costs.


EFD utility scale brine free desalination is powered entirely by natural gas, which is 7.4 times less expensive than electricity, and reuses 95 percent of the thermal energy expended, ensuring maximum efficiency throughout the system. The use of electricity by current desalination technologies results in desalinated water that is 2.4 times more expensive than water that could be produced by EFD processes.


ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT OF TOXIC BRINE & OPPOSITION TO DESALINATION PLANTS

Most current disposal methods simply reintroduce this toxic brine back into the environment polluting rivers, oceans and wells. Public opposition, political pressure and mounting governmental regulation over the devastating environmental impacts of toxic brine discharge is the driving force blocking the expansion of desalination in California, the United States and around the world.

In the United States, new EPA restrictions, such as ending One Pass Cooling Systems for power and desalination plants, have placed existing plants in jeopardy. In California alone, new regulations on brine discharge along the coasts in California have stalled all future desalination projects, jeopardizing existing desalination plant operations simply because of the limits of current technology to eliminate brine. Projects, such as the Poseidon Plant Carlsbad, CA plant now must be reconfigured both for ocean water intake and for brine disposal or face closure as early as 2020.

Changes to the California Ocean Plan in 2015 by the CA State Water Resources Control Board also expand restrictions on intake and brine disposal for planned desalination plants to address environmental impacts associated with seawater desalination facilities. None of the 17 currently planned plants for California comply with these new regulations, thus delaying all future planned desalination projects that could solve California’s water shortage issues.

Currently 150 countries rely on over 17,000 inefficient and environmentally damaging desalination plants to provide billions of gallons of fresh water for life, agriculture, and industry. Along coastlines, desalination plant brine discharge is causing unsustainable marine devastation and ocean “dead zones” where no marine life can exist. The fresh water from existing desalination technologies is produced at the expense of our environment, our ocean coastlines and our global future.

ENVIRONMENTAL COST OF TOXIC BRINE: COASTAL DEAD ZONES

Because brine contains twice the salt concentration of sea water and does not contain oxygen, discharging it into the ocean causes it to sink and spread along the ocean floor, where it can have a devastating impact on benthic ecosystems, including the suffocation of fish eggs and other organisms that inhabit this region. The delicate ecosystems on the ocean floor can be suffocated by the negative environmental impact of brine, resulting in a potentially disastrous environment for marine life and what is known as “kill zones” or “dead zones.”

The negative environmental impacts of reverse osmosis and other desalination technologies have been tolerated throughout the world because of a complete lack of an environmentally friendly alternative.


EFD Corp. technology is the only utility scale desalination technology without the production of brine. Our disruptive technology will become the worldwide industry standard for desalination and expand desalination globally without environmental damage.