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Products and solutions, 2007-06-14, 11:01 AM

Stainless group offers innovative material concepts for seawater desalination plants – seminar in Krefeld

In many parts of the world today, drinking water is already an extremely precious commodity. Experts predict that due to global population growth and increasing consumption, in the coming years it will be virtually impossible to meet demand for so-called “blue gold” from the earth’s natural freshwater resources. Seawater desalination plants offer a solution to water scarcity. Using condensation processes, they remove the salt from seawater and enrich the desalinated water with potassium. The end product is precious drinking water, which the average European consumes at a rate of 150 liters per day. This technology will also be the subject of the seminar “Materials and Corrosion in Desalination Plants” on June 14 and 15 in Krefeld, organized by the Duisburg-based Verband Deutsche Meerwasserentsalzung (German Seawater Desalination Association, DME) in conjunction with ThyssenKrupp Nirosta.

Various subsidiaries of ThyssenKrupp Stainless AG supply solutions for seawater desalination plants around the world. High-quality materials from ThyssenKrupp Nirosta, ThyssenKrupp VDM and ThyssenKrupp Titanium are in great demand from manufacturers. Highly corrosion-resistant and long-lasting sheets and tubes of stainless steel, nickel alloys or titanium are ideal for use in the desalination process. Their properties enable them to withstand the extreme, aggressive conditions caused by the saltwater in combination with elevated temperatures. “Ensuring drinking water supplies is an essential task and in the future will pose even greater problems than, for example, our rising energy consumption. Naturally, this future market offers additional opportunities for our materials,” says Dr. Alfred Otto, an executive director of ThyssenKrupp Nirosta.

According to DME estimates, there are already around 14,000 such plants around the globe, particularly in the Persian Gulf, where state-of-the-art technology is used to produce some 40 million cubic meters of drinking water per day. And demand for drinking water is rising further, especially in the Middle East and desert regions. Not least due to the problems of drinking water supply, experts see seawater desalination as the technology of the future. “We anticipate that more than 100 billion euros will be invested in this area in the next 20 to 25 years,” says DME Chairman Claus Mertes. The number of plants is increasing exponentially rather than linearly, underlining the extremely strong growth of this market. DME sees the greatest potential in the further development of the materials, produced in part by the Stainless group, which are used to build seawater desalination plants. Constant improvements to material properties will make it possible to enhance the technology of seawater desalination in the future and counter the expected water scarcity worldwide.

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