Smart microgrid-based desalination systems have been installed in Sansha, China’s southernmost city. The system, employing wind power and solar energy, can produce high-quality drinking water out of sea water.
Desalination used to be a high energy-consuming industry. Statistics show that by using conventional energy, it would take 46,600 kilowatt hours to desalinate 10,000 tons of sea water, the equivalent to 18.8 tons of coal and 46.4 tons of carbon dioxide emissions.
In order to have an economical and stable desalination system off the national grid, Jiangsu Fenghai New Energy Seawater Desalination Development Co., Ltd. explored a unique technology that combines a large-capacity generator and small-capacity energy storage system, successfully breaking the energy bottleneck.
The company established China’s first 10,000-ton wind-power demonstration project of sea water desalination in Jiangsu province in May 2014, applying an advanced energy management system and a series of storage converters to adjust the load. By doing this, the company found an effective solution to desalinate sea water using new energy.
“Now the demonstration project can desalinate 10,000 tons of sea water per day, including 1,000 tons of vessel water, 8,200 tons of municipal water, and 800 tons of purified water,” said Wang Jiafu, research and development manager of the company.
Later, the company upgraded the 10,000-ton device, transforming the mega project into one that could be applied on small islands.
According to Wang, the company reduced the size of the device and packed it into a container which could be operated off the national power grid. “It’s like a computer, ready for use once connected with wires and tubes,” Wang explained.
In addition, the container-style system’s anti-corrosion and high-temperature resistance technologies make it typhoon proof. The device could enable people to survive on any isolated island.