Movers & Shakers: NanoH2O to Build First Advanced Reverse Osmosis Membrane Manufacturing Facility in China

English: Reverse osmosis membrane element laye...

Reverse osmosis membrane element layers at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research in The Negev desert. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Reverse osmosis membrane for seawater desalination manufacturer NanoH20 will build a 10,000 sq meter manufacturing facility in Liyang, China, The facility will be the company’s second fully integrated manufacturing plant, following the first in Los Angeles, and is estimated to cost $45 million. It is expected to be operational by the end of 2014.

China, which represents one-fifth of the world’s population but just six percent of the global fresh water supply, plans to increase its seawater reverse osmosis desalination capacity three-fold by 2015. The overall membrane market in China is estimated to grow more than 20 percent per year over the next 10 years. The Chinese government’s current five-year plan also calls for 70 percent of equipment used in desalination plants to be produced domestically. Establishing a new NanoH2O facility in China will allow the company to take advantage of the growing domestic market for both desalination and wastewater treatment.

“Developing new sources of affordable, clean water is a priority for China’s ongoing economic development,” said Jianghua Su, Mayor of Liyang. “Liyang is excited to welcome NanoH2O and its leading desalination membrane technology to China, adding to Liyang’s growing roster of multi-national industrial and cleantech corporations looking to expand global operations and commercial efforts.”

By incorporating benign nanomaterials into its patented thin-film layer, the key characteristics of the controlling membrane structure show improved performance; with a 50-100% increase in permeability when compared to traditional thin-film RO membranes. This increased permeability means less pressure is required to produce fresh water through the membrane, thus lowering a desalination plant’s energy costs. Alternatively, at the same operating pressure, the increased permeability leads to an increase in the amount of fresh water produced.

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