A mixture of strategies will provide the best water treatment solution for a water-scarce country, such as South Africa, says global technology company ABB Energy Industries South Africa sales manager Joyce Moganedi.
“The scarcity of water has led to the Department of Water and Sanitation introducing a number of strategies regarding desalination, water reuse and curbing the leaks and burst pipes that are cutting the supply potential of water utilities.”
She mentions that this is a priority for the department, and ABB’s solutions portfolio speaks to the problems that local desalination plants may encounter.
ABB’s Energy Industries division sees itself as a key player in terms of delivering innovative solutions to help alleviate the water crisis in South Africa, which the company plans to do in a smart, safe and sustainable manner, adds Moganedi.
She says ABB’s vertical solution concept comprises various elements, namely plant assets (devices and instrumentation), automation, plant and enterprise solutions, and service and collaboration platforms, which are geared towards targeting the problems of the water industry.
These solutions are not standard solutions, but rather customisable for each water segment.
As a result, ABB sees these solutions digitalising, automating and electrifying the water industry to ensure safer, smarter and more sustainable use of water.
Moganedi explains that the company has noticed that energy consumption costs are a big contributor to the increase in operational costs when running a desalination plant, also taking into consideration the overall maintenance and running costs of a plant.
ABB can assist desalination plants in improving their energy consumption levels, which will, in turn, provide cost-effective water to communities. “This can be achieved using our vertical solution concept which enables customers to continuously monitor and optimize plant operations.”
ABB’s solutions ensure that the overall plant is optimised and operating efficiently, right from plant asset level to the company’s differentiator digital solutions.
“This is done by the deployment of our vertical solutions concept.”
Digital solutions are industry-specific solutions deployed to achieve strategic business outcomes for customers.
Big data is an output that is targeted at management to enable them to make company strategic decisions. Management does so by analysing big data, offering predictive analytics for the plant and thus optimisation of plant operations, she notes.
Moganedi highlights that, another contributor when operating a desalination plant is the intensive treatment process. Having a longer treatment process means a large amount of capital is required to start up a plant.
ABB has completed projects for desalination plants in Africa, such as the Algura seawater desalination plant, on the eastern coast of the Arabian peninsula.
It is one of the largest reverse osmosis plants, with a capacity of 191 m3/d of water and serving 800 000 people.
Further, ABB has also completed the Magtaa reverse osmosis plant project, in Algeria. The plant has a capacity of 500 000 m3/d and serves a population of five-million people.
The company has also completed the Liwa water reserve project, with a capacity of 26-million cubic metres a day, in the United Arab Emirates, to help in developing underground storage of potable desalinated water for emergency use at the reserve.