Global meet to focus on Indian water plant

Monday, 29 November 2004, 08:00 Hrs
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NEW DELHI: A project in south India that generates millions of litres of drinking water at low costs every day will be the focus of a global meet on water shortage next month.

Delegates from France, China, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Israel will study the Kalpakkam hybrid desalination plant during the Dec 13-16 meet called by the International Atomic Energy Agency in Chennai.

"The delegates will visit our hybrid nuclear desalination demonstration project at Kalpakkam, the largest of its kind in the world, during the meet," said P.K. Tewari, head of the Desalination Division of Trombay's Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC), which has set up the project.

The project consists of a nuclear power plant with 340 MWe pressurised heavy water reactor and two desalination plants using thermal and reverse osmosis processes.

It converts sea water to generate 6.3 million litres of fresh water every day at a cost of just five paisa per litre, meeting the needs of around 45,000 people.

India is a member of the International Nuclear Desalination Advisory Group set up to help water-starved countries. "We feel that to meet future demands, it is better to go for large co-generation projects like this," Tewari told reporters.

BARC has also demonstrated low temperature evaporation and the use of low-grade heat and waste heat as energy inputs for desalination.

It is now looking at new means to supplement water shortage across India, including smaller desalination units and domestic water purification units.

"The institute is using membrane desalination technology very effectively to provide safe drinking water in brackishness-affected areas and for industrial use," said Tiwari.

"In fact, the institute is providing the technology at a low cost to the industry for commercial application," said Tiwari.

BARC is also working on a new barge mounted desalination plant that could be used anywhere along the coast, including on the Lakshadweep islands in the Bay of Bengal which face fresh water shortage.

"The barge mounted desalination plant is currently being installed at Trombay and should be ready by December next year," he said.

"It will have a capacity for desalination of 50,000 litres per day."

With the Tamil Nadu government having floated an international tender inviting bids for setting up a new desalination plant, BARC is keen to tie up with private investors.

"The terms of the tender will make in difficult for any Indian company to bid. With our proven technology we could help bring down the project cost, which would otherwise require around 10 billion for a 200 million litre per day plant," said Tiwari.

The pre-bid tender meeting for the new desalination project is to be held Dec 2
Source: IANS
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