Current desalination methods, which include thermal and membrane based technologies, focus on extracting the water rather than the salt. This has led to four major challenges in the industry today:
- High energy demand, which translates into high operating costs
- Difficulties handling the salts, thus requiring expensive anti-corrosive materials, antiscalants and exponential cost increases with increased salinity
- Inability to selectively extract and valorize monovalent, divalent or specific cations as well as sulfates
- No reasonably affordable treatment solution for highly concentrated brine
AquaOmnes® is an innovative, patented technology that instead removes the salt out of salty water, leaving water behind. The key to the technology is a proprietary ion-absorbing liquid named Flionex® which is used to bind salts. Flionex® is based on a liquid-liquid deionization technology which allows for the following features:
- Ability to selectively remove or retain certain salts by customizing the chemical properties of the Flionex® according to your demands
- Ability to remove massive quantities of salt from any brines and salty effluents including seawater
- Low energy expenditure because it works at ambient pressure and temperature
- Significantly higher water recovery rates than other methods thanks to its ability to overcome the scaling issue.
Adionics is therefore introducing a new approach in desalination: smart desalination.
As part of our technology, we have developed a range of proprietary solutions to meet a variety of industrial needs: our services go from the production of freshwater all the way to the customized creation of valuable effluents and/or hyperbrines (concentrations far above 70gr/L).
The innovative nature of AquaOmnes® allows us to go beyond classical desalination applications and creates a blue ocean of new opportunities for many users as well as the desalination industry.
- Capacity to desalt brines and highly saline effluents (for example, Produced water)
- Ability to selectively remove salts such as monovalents, divalents or single species (for example, the removal of divalent cations for EOR applications, the selective removal of potassium, Lithium etc.)
- Capacity to further concentrate brines (ultrabrines) thereby allowing for the minimization of waste ahead of disposal, Zero Liquid Discharge or the concentration of valuable ions
- Affordable capex due to the technology’s simplicity and reliance on inexpensive materials and opex due to low grade energy consumption
- Chance to reduce the industry’s environmental impact
The above characteristics are the basis of the smart desalination proposed by Adionics and declined in 3 offers:
- Selectex standing for selective extraction (example: Lithium)
- Smartex standing for smart extraction (example: separating divalent cations from monavelnt ones in some EOR applications)
- Saltex standing for saltextraction (examples: desalting produced water or concentrating brines above 200gr/L).
Benefits vs desalnation challenges:
Global Water Intelligence (GWI), the leading provider of business news and analysis on the global water industry, listed the top 10 industry challenges that, if overcome, would create the biggest value for the desalination industry. AquaOmnes® overcomes three of the top five challenges: the ability to selectively separate desired salts, desalinate on a large-scale with solar energy and avoid the use of antiscalants.
AquaOmnes is a great lever to reduce the environmental footprint along 3 axis: energy, water and waste.
The thermodynamic energy needed to extract salts out of saline water is much lower than what is needed to push water through a membrane or to evaporate it, the methods conventionally used today. This is because displacing minimal mass allows for minimal energy consumption.
AquaOmnes® desalts water with no membrane and no evaporation, which enables huge energy savings. This leads to the opportunity to create a renewable desalination solution.
- AquaOmnes® low energy requirement means that it can be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal energy
- In fact, the Masdar pilot project is being designed in conjunction with solar energy to create an efficient and renewable desalination solution.
It is to be noted that with AquaOmnes, the energy consumption is linearly dependent upon the amount of salt extracted and thus cancels the exponential energy increase observed for RO and distillation technologies with increased salinity.
Since scaling can be avoided, high water conversion rates can be achieved. This means that maximum amount of fresh water can be obtained and feed water is valorised at its maximum level.
This high water conversion rate also means that brines can be concentrated to levels approaching saturation, greatly reducing the amount of residual water. Increased concentration is particularly useful ahead of ZLD units or salts valorization industrial process. This AquaOmnes can turn waste into products including water, species etc.