Advanced Seawater Desalination Plant

by David W. Dean, (M.ASCE),
Earl B. Lindquist, Jr., (M.ASCE),

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: North American Water and Environment Congress & Destructive Water


A project that will demonstrate an enhanced seawater desalination process that operates in combination with upgraded existing coastal power plants to meet part of the projected water needs for Metropolitan service area into the 21st century is discussed. An advanced distillation process is expected to provide a 50% reduction in capital cost required to build the plant compared to currently available desalination processes. The design uses the very high–heat transfer performance of double–fluted aluminum tubes vertically stacked in a concrete tower. Metropolitan will test the process with the operation of a test unit of 7.6 cubic meters (2,000 gallons) per day and demonstrate the process with a seawater desalination facility of 19,000 m³ per day (5 mgd). The test unit uses auxiliary steam from Southern California Edison power generating station to evaporate the seawater. The test unit also utilizes the station seawater intake and discharge. If the results of the test unit are as expected, Metropolitan will continue with design and construction of the 19,000 m³ per day (5 mgd) seawater demonstration plant. Once the experimental test unit provides suitable design data, the project could lead to the building of a typical full-scale 280,000 m³ day (75 mgd) dual-purpose power generation and advanced seawater desalination plant somewhere along the Pacific Coast between Oxnard and San Diego, California, producing enough potable water for more than 500,000 people a year.

Subject Headings: Hydro power | Urban areas | Sea water | Desalination | Coastal processes | Steam power | Construction management | Power plants | California | United States

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