Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink?
No doubt, water scarcity remains a major threat to public health – and a major opportunity to sustainable business development.
China, which represents one-fifth of the world’s population but possesses just 6 percent of the global fresh water supply, plans to increase its seawater desalination capacity threefold by 2015. If the country hits its goals, it will by 2020 produce enough fresh water using reverse osmosis (RO) to supply fresh drinking water for about 100 million residents.
El Segundo, CA-based NanoH2O Inc., a manufacturer of reverse osmosis (RO) membranes for seawater desalination, announced at this week’s International Desalination Association World Congress (IDA) in Tianjin, China, plans to build a $45 million manufacturing facility in the city of Liyang, located in the Yangtze River Delta 250 kilometers west of Shanghai. The 10,000-square-meter facility will be the company’s second fully integrated manufacturing plant, following its first in Los Angeles. The Liyang facility is expected to be operational by the end of 2014.
Said Liyang Mayor Jianghua Su: “Developing new sources of affordable, clean water is a priority for China’s ongoing economic development.”
The Chinese government’s plans also call for 70 percent of equipment used in desalination plants to be produced domestically. Establishing a new facility in China will position NanoH2O to take advantage of the growing domestic market for both desalination and wastewater treatment, the company says. And in the wake of China's booming economic development climate, it also represents a key positioning strategy for U.S. business – specifically, exporting sustainable development expertise.
NanoH2O’s thin-film nanocomposite membrane is marketed under the QuantumFlux brand. By incorporating benign nanomaterials into its patented thin-film layer, NanoH2O claims to have improved key performance characteristics and can demonstrate a 50-100 percent increase in permeability when compared to traditional thin-film RO membranes. Increased permeability means less pressure is required to produce fresh water through the membrane, thus lowering a desalination plant’s energy costs.
“The Liyang plant is the first RO membrane manufacturing facility in China to utilize advanced nanotechnology,” said Jeff Green, chairman and CEO of NanoH2O.
The IDA conference wraps up in Tianjin on Oct. 25.
Slideshow photo by smthng.