Demand for drinking water continues to grow, especially in densely populated areas. TNO has developed Memstill®, a new technology that desalinises seawater and makes it clean and drinkable. Memstill® is compact, environmentally friendly and can produce at low cost, which can gives Memstill® a significant role in freshwater provision worldwide.
Seawater is becoming an increasingly important source for our water production. More than 97% of the world's water is seawater. In densely populated areas in particular, demand for healthy drinking water is growing steadily. Together with several industrial partners TNO has developed Memstill®, a technology that takes salty seawater and makes it clean and drinkable. Memstill® has proven itself in two pilots at 1m3/h scale, one of which is at the E.on energy company on the Maasvlakte and one in Singapore.
Memstill is a distillation method that makes use of membranes. Concentrated seawater (brine) forms a residue and the clean drinking water is evaporated by the membrane and captured. Industrial residual heat (< 90°C) is used, a source that is available in abundance all over the western world. In other areas solar heat can be employed. In both cases the technology produces negligible greenhouse gas.
Memstill® is compact in size and can be located wherever there is residual heat, which means there is no expensive transport necessary. No use is made of chemicals in the desalination process as in a number of other comparable processes (Reverse Osmosis, Multi Effect Distillation and Multi Stage Flashing). Memstill® is a high environmentally friendly technology. The pilots have also demonstrated that the water is of much better quality than competing technologies.
In comparison with the current state of the art in desalination methods, cost calculations show that Memstill® is much cheaper for small as well as large-scale applications, with costs per cubic metre of drinking water ranging from 30 to 140 eurocents. The lowest reported costs for the other methods are somewhere between 50 eurocents and 2 euro per cubic metre.
Finally, Memstill® also offers industry an attractive proposition. Industrial water can be made even purer than drinking water, and very pure process water with conductivity of less than 1µS/cm makes for many applications in industry as pure water. Read more about Memstill® technology in the publication below. Waste water: sewage can also be treated with this technique. A successful demonstration was conducted in the greenhouse.