The CapWa project, which holds great potential for coal-fired power generation plants, is at a stage where it can be tested for entry to the market on a commercial basis.
Project Manager and consultant with Netherlands-based global energy consultancy DNV Kema Ludwin Daal told Power Engineering International that the partners behind CapWa are excited about building on the work done, saying, à‚ “We are looking forward to working with an international system integrator willing to invest in this technology and bring it to market”
The project aims to realize the production of membrane modules which are capable of selectively removing evaporated water from industrial applications. The water capture technology has implications for energy savings for coal-fired power plants, and also has particular resonance for such facilities where there are plentiful coal supplies but not enough water as in China.
There is also great advantage to the technology for fossil-fuel power plants where there is water scarcity in general, a point that will become more relevant as greater pressure grows on the world’s water resources in the decades to come, due to a large part to increased urbanisation.
“The data we measured reaffirmed what we find in the lab. It has been really demonstrated in practice at similar levels and it shows some conflicts in the work we have done but also it shows us more than enough to have the confidence to continue to the next stage.
That stage is to bring it to proven status as a technology, which means we need to conduct two to three commercial demonstrations on site, and we are looking for system integrators to help achieve that,” Mr Daal told PEi.
The technology is versatile and is not aimed uniquely at the power sector. One of the biggest beneficiaries is likely to be the global paper and board manufacturing sector.
“The energy savings are the main factor. The chairman of the European Paper Industry said that based on conservative energy savings we have made for the paper sector we can use the technology to mean a billion euros a year in energy savings alone. You see a clear driver here.
“It’s also a new source of water which makes it interesting for particular world regions.”
While the technology pays for itself with two years for the paper trade, Daal says that it would take longer for the coal power sector, anything from three to 12 years, but there are other compelling reasons to get in on the action early.
“For the coal powered sector it is not compelling enough at least in the present time, but is at least compelling enough to warrant a further demonstration.
“There are places in the world where water is so scarce that there are policies in place to address the dilemma of water and energy and we are talking with a partner in South Africa to see if this will be a solution for them.”
“It is also a particular issue in China “there are major water shortages and the percentage of coal fired power plants in really water-stressed areas is I believe as high as 30 per cent.
“It’s been confirmed by at least one coal power plant operator that because of the conditions the plant is only operating two months a year because of water shortage.”
The13-strong international consortium that is behind CapWa is now tasked with realising the next step, something Daal acknowledges is difficult to accomplish in recession-hit Europe at the present time.
Pilot schemes such as in the Water Research Centre in Georgia US are giving the project serious consideration but ultimately what Daal and colleagues are seeking is an entity large enough to fully realise a technology that has been fifteen years in development.
“For this next stage you need to do this with a large enterprise, one that can storm the market afterwards. It has to be capable of implementing a technology at this stage, so as to convince a partner like Membrana to manufacture the membranes.
“Also in terms of the power industry we need to ensure the partner we team up with is going to be there for a while and has the capability to supply the sales and after sales that are necessary for potential to be realised.”
For more information on the CapWa project click here
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For a brief video on the capability of the technology