Converting Seawater to Fresh Water
National Driller July 2005 e-Newsletter
For the next six months, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC) will work under the sponsorship of the Bureau of Reclamation to test, evaluate and document innovative water desalination technologies in Port Hueneme, Calif.
Data collected from the project, called the Affordable Desalination Collaboration (ADC) Test Bed, will be used to determine more energy-efficient, cost-saving methods of generating drinking water from seawater for the Navy and Marine Corps team.
The ADC test bed has been installed at the Seawater Desalination Test Facility (SDTF) in Port Hueneme, operated by NAVFAC's Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center (NFESC). With the SDTF, Navy engineers will be conducting hardware operation tests and water quality analysis while operating the innovative desalination equipment using natural seawater, thus providing real-world conditions that can be compared to more traditional desalination designs.
The SDTF is the only facility on the West Coast that provides direct access to Pacific Ocean seawater in a fully instrumented test environment. In addition, SDTF staff engineers can provide immediate performance feedback on prototype equipment, which is critical to validating technologies and developing new products. In the past, the SDTF and staff have been involved with helping private industry develop new reverse-osmosis membranes, high-pressure pumps and a variety of energy recovery devices that have then been used on Navy and Marine desalination equipment.
“The facilities here offer a terrific place to test desalination technologies,” said Capt. William J. Beary, NFESC commanding officer, during a ribbon cutting ceremony held for the test bed in May. “The greatest strength of this project, however, is the collective effort of people from numerous public and private organizations who are working together to drive the efficient production of potable water.”
Members in the ADC Test Bed project, including federal, state and local government water agencies and industry organizations, will share lessons learned to help all desalination facilities, including those owned and operated by the Navy/Marine Corps team, reduce operational costs. The Navy currently uses desalination systems aboard ships and submarines, while the Marines use similar equipment for all their land-based water purification needs. Low-cost, high-efficiency desalination technologies also may benefit Navy and Marine Corps bases as a supplement to, or replacement for, current water sources.