By Darrell E. Waller, NAVFAC EXWC Public Affairs
NAVAL BASE VENTURA COUNTY, PORT HUENEME, Calif. (NNS) -- The Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) commissioned a new energy efficient reverse osmosis (RO) system on San Nicolas Island (SNI) in January.
The new seawater desalination system is the result of a partnership with the U.S. Army Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center (TARDEC) and consists of two RO "trains" with multimedia and cartridge filter pretreatment. Each RO system is capable of providing more than 21,000 gallons per day (GPD) of drinking water to meet the daily SNI water demand of 15,000 GPD.
"Water is an essential element for the proper functioning of the human body," said NAVFAC EXWC Commanding Officer Capt. Mark. K. Edelson. "The new reverse osmosis systems installed at San Nicolas Island are considered 'state-of-the-art,' and they are significantly more reliable and energy efficient, producing high volumes of drinkable water every day of the year. In the future, similar RO units will have great benefit to the fleet and our nation's warfighters."
The new plant design will allow operators to run one train at a time while the other one is on standby. If more water is needed the plant could produce up to 42,000 GPD to meet SNI mission needs.
The replacement project included upgraded instrumentation and controls, new interconnected piping, resurfacing of the existing concrete floor, revised standard operating procedures, and a system manual.
The system was constructed with stainless steel piping and corrosion resistant pumps throughout, providing SNI personnel with a plant that has increased capacity, reduced maintenance, and reduced operator labor.
Each of the RO units can be operated 24 hours, 7 days a week and will produce 15 gallons per minute (GPM) with an estimated power consumption of 18.6 kilowatt hours/kilo gallons (kWh/kgal) through the use of energy recovery technology. The old RO plant at SNI had a much higher energy consumption of 50 kwh/kgal and could only be run 15 hours a day due to the limitations on the brine discharge permit and lower system recovery.
The new plant operates at a higher system recovery of 42 percent which reduces the brine discharge by 50 percent to 21 GPM or 30,240 GPD. The projected annual energy savings for the new plant while meeting the daily demand is approximately 176 megawatts per hour (MwH) which is about $123,000 per year. Economic analysis projects the payback on the new RO plant investment of 4.7 years.
This energy efficient and reduced life cycle cost system is a critical asset for the fleet, providing safe and reliable drinking water requirements supporting tri-service sea range capabilities.
NAVFAC EXWC is the Navy's premier activity for facilities and expeditionary technology solutions, engineering services, equipment logistics and products needed to equip the fleet and meet warfighter requirements. NAVFAC EXWC also delivers specialized engineering and technology solutions that support sustainable facilities and provides logistics and expeditionary systems support for Navy combat force capabilities.