DuPont awarded $1.3m grant to apply CCRO technology

DuPont has been awarded a three-year grant from PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency on behalf of National Research Foundation, Singapore (NRF) to shape the future for how Closed Circuit Reverse Osmosis (CCRO) technology can be applied to desalination processes to make the purification of seawater more energy efficient, flexible and reliable.  

DuPont Water Solutions, a leading manufacturing of reverse osmosis and desalination membranes, obtained the globally patented and unique CCRO process technology with the acquisition of Desalitech (Inc.) in January 2020. CCRO leverages a standardised design, a smart software, and standard components to help customers purify and reuse more water through higher recovery rates, lower energy consumption and reduced maintenance compared to traditional reverse osmosis. CCRO has proven to deliver up to 90-98% water recovery with reduced energy usage and superior fouling and scaling resistance for the purification and reuse of brackish water within industrial, municipal, and wastewater applications.

This grant will allow DuPont to continue to advance the CCRO technology for additional applications, including desalination. Through this project, the CCRO technology will be optimised for seawater desalination systems to operate at 15% or lower energy than conventional reverse osmosis systems using energy recovery devices.  The project also intends to demonstrate additional benefits of minimising maintenance through fewer cleanings, and the ability to automatically adapt to variable salinity feed source.

The goal of this project is to expand the application of CCRO technology to bring its benefits to desalination process and make it commercially viable for seawater reverse osmosis systems. Closed circuit reverse osmosis desalination systems, as more autonomous, data-driven solutions, will be well suited to support the clean water needs of regions with limited access to water operations and affordable energy. 

“DuPont is working to help solve global water challenges with a sense of urgency,” said HP Nanda, Global Vice President & General Manager, DuPont Water Solutions. “As we look to increase access to fresh water, we believe that closed circuit reverse osmosis will prove to be a more sustainable way to purify, conserve and reuse water, including saltwater.”

“We look forward to working with PUB, Singapore’s National Water Agency, to advance CCRO and membrane technologies to enable a seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination system with record-setting lowest energy consumption,” said Gary Gu, Global Technology Leader, DuPont Water Solutions. “DuPont is fully committed to supporting Singapore in our shared sustainability journey through innovation and collaboration.”

The award, not to exceed $1.3m, is part of Singapore’s Competitive Research Programme (Water) that supports Research and Development (R&D) for technologies with great potential to transform the water industry. 

DuPont Water Solutions (DWS) is a leader in sustainable water purification and separation technologies, including ultrafiltration, reverse osmosis (RO) membranes and ion exchange resins. DuPont designs and produces the most widely used RO membrane technology in the world — trusted globally by municipalities, industries , manufacturers, commercial markets, and families requiring clean, safe water. 

Desalination membranes remove salt and other chemicals from water, a process critical to the health of society, cleaning billions of gallons of water for agriculture, energy production and drinking. Reverse osmosis membranes work by applying pressure to the salty feed solution on one side. The minerals remain in the feed while the water passes through. Although more efficient than non-membrane desalination processes, this process still takes a large amount of energy in water treatment plants and improving the efficiency of the membranes through the use of CCRO could reduce that burden.