Connecting AI & membranes: 3 water industry collaborations
Europe Desalination Membranes

Connecting AI & membranes: 3 water industry collaborations

Tuesday, 15 November 2022

Three AI and membrane stories, including a desalination AI upgrade in Saudi Arabia, a new biological indicator to prevent membrane fouling and a new partnership linking US & Dutch firms.

SAWACO partners with Pani for AI upgrade

Saudi Arabian company SAWACO Water Desalination has signed up Canadian start-up Pani to help optimise a regional seawater desalination facility to extend equipment life and increase overall water production.

The collaboration will help to reduce energy consumption and extend membrane lifetime.

As part of the development, SAWACO will launch the intelligent decision support platform at the South Jeddah Corniche Desalination Plant (SOJECO) in Saudi Arabia. The plant supplies 16,500 m³/day of potable grade water to Jeddah Industrial Cities 2 &3, factories, hospitals, and private housing complexes. 

The introduction of the Pani platform will help to optimise the facility’s seawater reverse osmosis operations. The project is slated to commence operations in Q4 2022.

Nizar Kammourie, CEO of SAWACO said the collaboration will “help us overcoming several production challenges, an increase in production through improved recovery, in addition to reducing energy consumption and extending membrane lifetime”.

Biological indicator could prevent membrane fouling

A new project has been launched to develop a biological indicator to help determine the presence of agents that cause biofouling in seawater reverse osmosis desalination processes.

As part of the ‘WITNESS’ project, supported by the supported by CDTI, the Spanish Center for Technology Development and Innovation, operating under the Ministry of Science and Innovation, the system is being developed by Spanish infrastructure group, ACCIONA.

It’s estimated that biological fouling of membranes may cause up to 10-30 per cent of the issues in reverse osmosis membranes in desalination plants, impacting OPEX (operational costs).

Currently, indicators do not allow “distinguishing between different fouling types and have limitations regarding representatives”, such as Silt Density Index.

The WITNESS indicator will be integrated into an AI-based fouling potential prediction tool, which will be validated as part of the company’s Leading Experimental Accelerator in Desalination (LEAD®), located in the San Pedro del Pinatar II SWRO (Murcia).

NX Filtration & Transcend unite to advance plant design

Dutch membrane company NX Filtration has partnered with US generative design SaaS start-up, Transcend to help bring an advanced project tool online through the Transcend platform.
The partnership will enable asset owners and engineering companies to make their own projects and system designs, which includes NX Filtration’s direct nanofiltration (dNF) membranes.

Projections include forecasted water quality, energy usage and the cleaning philosophy, showing the operational efficiency.

As part of the collaboration, Transcend will configure its cloud-based software platform, the Transcend Design Generator (TDG), specific to NX Filtration’s technology. 

This configuration will automate the preliminary design of water and wastewater treatment processes and their associated technologies, including NX Filtration’s advanced suite of dNF membranes.

“Adding our dNF technology to this platform makes it easy to use and allows our customers to generate proposals from basic inputs,” said Michiel Staatsen, CEO NX Filtration.

“The projections include forecasted water quality, energy usage and the cleaning philosophy, showing the operational efficiency advantages in terms of energy and chemical usage of hollow fiber nanofiltration.”