The term “sustainable water management” has many interpretations of meaning by industry experts, consumers and companies that share stewardship examples with their customers and shareholders. Water scarcity and recycling are reinforced in the media for good reason, and it is clear that using drinking quality water for purposes that could use lower quality (but safe) water effectively is the preferred approach that improves sustainable operations for broader benefits while saving costs.
The big sets of data on water consumption help with general understanding of water use, but deeper analysis is required to determine where water can be used more efficiently because it opens discussions for planning between stakeholders that may not otherwise collaborate. Sustainable water management involves a series of processes with continuous review of how to avoid wasting water, evaluating water reuse options and deploying sensors and data collection schedules that inform users for improving decisions. We are still in early stages of what will be a hundred-fold proliferation of wireless sensors (the IoT, or Internet of Things) that will serve to improve water management processes in a broad range of applications. We can better manage the things we measure.
HydroTech Solutions was formed to support companies and institutions with technologies that improve sustainable water use in terms of:
- Water Reuse applications
- Extending effective water use cycles
- Control of scale, bacteria and corrosion in water systems
- Applying best-use of water quality for processes to avoid wasting drinking water resources
- Reducing energy, water use and chemistry for ongoing process improvement
Sustainable economics is the foundation of organizations and families’ survival long term, that involves reducing waste, preserving financial resources, and orienting behaviors that ensure health and well-being for stakeholders. Sustainable water use is a term often used in the marketplace ineffectively or carelessly; often because the target audience has too many agendas and limited attention for interpreting the message. In order to achieve sustainable water use, specific processes need to be evaluated for improvements, which cannot be bundled in a marketing blitz with tweets, blogs and videos.
We offer our clients ways to save water, conserve energy use, and reduce chemicals that go into their water systems. Each component saves money, every day, month and year going forward.
A Macro Example:
There are over 500,000 cooling towers in the U.S. that operate in buildings, campuses and industrial facilities that use approximately 5 trillion gallons of fresh, potable water each year (excluding pass-through cooling or cooling systems that utilize water from non-potable sources).
In simple terms, when water hardness achieves a certain level of concentration which is usually measured in conductivity by a sensor, a portion of the water is “blown down” or purged into the sanitary sewer, with fresh make-up water refilled. The purpose of blowdown is to prevent scale formation which significantly reduces the ability to transfer heat, which increases energy use (approx. 1mm of scale reduces energy efficiency by 12%).
Scale accumulation is constant in cooling towers and heat exchangers, and so too is biological fouling (bacteria, algae and bio-slime) that also decreases the level of energy efficiency. Scale and biological fouling cause more frequent shutdowns for maintenance and replacement of components. The common approach to prevent scale, bacteria and corrosion is by adding 3 or more different chemicals. Frequent blowdown not only loses water, but also wastes chemicals in that lost water.
Here’s what HydroTech offers for Sustainable Water Management:
- HydroFLOW electronic water conditioner uses a frequency that neutralizes bacteria in the water stream, along with algae and biofilm. The signal travels throughout the water system and also causes the dissolved scale particles (water hardness) to cluster in the water. The clusters continue to grow due to the continuous frequency pulses and cannot attach to pipe walls or equipment. The scale clusters and remaining biological materials are filtered out of the water stream.
- Electrostatic filtration of circulating water removes particles to below 5 microns, which extends the use of existing water 2-3 times longer, and since organic particles are removed the chemistry requirements are reduced up to 75%. This innovative filtration process uses no filter media which saves cost of filter changes, backwashing and labor. No downtime, filter replacements or disposal of filters.
- Chemical applications are reduced by up to 75% (biocides, scale inhibitors, corrosion inhibitors and others). Sustained cost savings.
- Energy efficiency is maintained, saving between 12-20% electricity cost
- Water usage is decreased by up to 50%, saving make-up water and disposal costs.
Sustainability must include economics, and the Return on Investment of HydroTech Solutions’ water conditioning and filtration is usually between 8-18 months. Reduction of water, chemistry and energy usage is recognized the day of installation.
The big picture for water savings alone: If all cooling towers in operation were able to save even 20% water usage in the U.S. approximately 1 trillion gallons of potable water would be saved.
HydroTech technologies can save up to 50% of cooling tower water use, along with chemistry and energy savings. This is a good example of Sustainable Water Management that can be implemented today either through purchase, or we have leasing programs that work well with Opex budgets and offset current expenses. In terms of the energy costs of operating a HydroFLOW, the annual electricity expense is less than $15 per year.
Let’s discuss similar savings in heat exchangers, boilers, refineries and power plants that seek to reduce costs associated with water, energy and chemical use for control of scale, corrosion and biologicals. The 8-18 month ROI is significant, but so too is the improved stewardship that benefits all stakeholders.
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