GE Helps Catalonia Region Make the Most of Scarce Water Supplies

Posted: Monday 20th July 2009

State-of-the-Art Desalination Plant Opens in Spain Using GE Technology.

Spain, one of the most arid European countries, has a long-standing water supply strategy to desalinate and use brackish river water. That effort has just taken a giant step forward as GE and Aigües Ter-Llobregat (ATLL) have announced the opening of one of the world’s largest and most technologically advanced river water desalination plants, near Barcelona.

The plant employs advanced electrodialysis reversal (EDR) technology from GE to tap the Llobregat River and to ensure a clean, reliable water supply for Barcelona and the surrounding Catalonia region.

The EDR plant, operated by water utility Aigües Ter-Llobregat in Abrera, treats 220,000 cubic meters/day of water (58 million gallons/day). It runs in conjunction with ATLL’s existing water treatment plant which uses conventional treatment technology. The EDR plant’s output is blended with the output of the conventional plant to produce a combined stream that is adequate for the region’s needs, meets all water quality standards and is cost-effective.

EDR technology from GE Water employs an electrochemical separation process to remove salts and organic matter found in many source waters such as the Llobregat River, along with potentially harmful chlorination byproducts. EDR provides an exceptionally high water recovery rate of 90 percent, and maintains consistent water quality despite the source river’s changing temperature and salinity. The EDR system also resists fouling, which can decrease its performance and service life.

“GE applauds ATLL for using the GE EDR system and for opening one of the largest brackish water desalination treatment systems in the world. The high water recovery nature of this design is critical to the prudent use of scarce fresh water in Catalonia, and the durable nature of GE’s EDR technology was instrumental in its selection, as it did not require any additional pretreatment,” said Bill Harvey, GE Water’s commercial leader for the EDR platform.

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