Water. desalination + reuse

DWR FebMarch 2015

Water. Desalination + reuse

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February-March 2015 | Desalination & Water Reuse | 23 | TECHNOLOGY _________ Dr Trevor Loveday editor, D&WR Editor's note: membrane-based desalination has been the lead technology set in recent years but Thermal Purification Technologies' thermal process could tick boxes for sustainability and cost with a system that uses low-quality heat to produce high purity water. So with a big hitter in Metito as its strategic partner with even bigger backers including Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, could established technologies have a challenger in low- temperature distillation? WHEN A small company championing a possibly disruptive technology teams up with technical and financial muscle there is the promise of a compelling tale. So when, in the autumn of 2014, after less than one year in business, Switzerland-based Thermal Purification Technologies (TPTec) struck up a strategic partnership with the rapidly growing water technology company Metito the prospects for TPTec's low- temperature distillation technology (LTDis) took an interesting turn. STaTegic parTner "The major focus for us has been to find a strategic partner and we have now found that with Metito which has the resources and the presence in the core markets that we need to expand,' says TPTec's chief executive officer, Espen Mansfeldt. TPTec acquired the patents for LTDis from another Swiss company, Watersolutions. LTDis deploys a cascade distillation process similar to that used in multi effect distillation (MED) using low-grade, typically waste heat from various sources including industrial processes, power generation and solar thermal. An important advantage is that LTDis uses direct evaporation/condensation and there are no tube bundles or membranes in the plant. It can, according to TPTec, tolerate salinity levels as high as 330,000 mg/l (up to and into precipitation of sodium chloride) and pollution with hydrocarbons. Mansfeldt came to TPTec from Watersolutions where he was co-owner and chief after a career in the food and drink industry including deputy division president at Coca-Cola. On leaving Watersolutions in 2013 he worked as a consultant before joining TPTec in late 2014 with commercializing its offering as his brief: "I always thought the technology sounded very promising and we have a great team where I can bring some of the marketing and sales skills to complement their very good technical skills," says Mansfeldt. financiaL muScLe So was financial muscle all that TPTec needed to push forward? "The strength of working with Metito is that they have the engineering resources and the presence in many markets. And they have the experience of running complicated and advanced water projects so all of that was of great value to us. So this is more important than a pure financial investment," he says. "We needed the resources to develop it and to be able to provide potential clients with very detailed offers," he adds. Indeed, Metito said on announcing its undisclosed "significant investment" in TPTec that it had: "the scale, expertise and financial backing to fully integrate this innovative technology, taking it to the next level of its evolution to become a mainstream solution." And to emphasise this it pointed to its "compelling shareholder base" which includes Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Japan Bank for International Cooperation, Gulf Capital and the International Finance Corporation. many aDvanTageS According to Metito's group business development director, Bassem Halabi, TPTec's LTDis is the first efficiently operating low-temperature distillation system: "There are so many advantages and differences between this current LTDis and other LTDs that may or may not be on the market," he says. Chief among the differences, Halabi says, is the greater efficiency potential. TPTec's LTDis system has a "basic level of about 40% but it can achieve 80% efficiency in its conversion of saline feedwater to potable water. He says the process operates with very small Is low temperature the next hot prospect?

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