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Seawater Desalination


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As the world population increases and the economy develops, water demands are increasing. Thus, seawater desalination technologies are attracting attention as one of the solutions to meet the increasing demands.

Seawater desalination technologies are divided into evaporation and membrane methods, of which the membrane method is more widely used because it can produce water at relatively lower costs. However, the membrane method still has many issues to be solved in terms of energy efficiency.

Toshiba provides a one-stop solution encompassing plant construction to control technology applications to reduce water production costs at seawater desalination plants.

Control System for Improving the Recovery Rate of the RO Membrane Method

Toshiba offers many products such as low-pressure membranes and highly efficient power recovery devices to help reduce water production cost, which is one of the challenges for seawater desalination plants using the RO membrane method. Because proper construction and operation are important for a seawater desalination plant, Toshiba also offers comprehensive engineering services.
For proper plant operation, control and operation technologies are necessary. Toshiba has developed technologies for improving the recovery rates to reduce costs.


The water quality of seawater is relatively stable. However, both the salinity and temperature of seawater fluctuate significantly throughout a year.
This control system reduces the pump power per unit of water production by applying the variable recovery rate system to the RO membrane units according to the fluctuations in raw water quality.
Also in the seawater desalination plant with two-stage RO membrane treatment, this system can control the recovery rates of both high-pressure RO membrane units in the first stage and low-pressure RO membrane units in the second stage simultaneously.


  • Increasing the recovery rate of the RO membrane units results in a deposit of inorganic matter such as calcium on the surface of the membrane which causes fouling. The recovery rate must be improved within a range so as to prevent the deposition of inorganic matter.
  • At ordinary plants operating at a constant recovery rate, the energy consumption rate (kWh/m³) fluctuates with seasons. However, the energy consumption rate can be reduced by Improving the recovery rate in this variable recovery rate system.

Configuration Example

Overview of the Recovery Rate Improving Control System

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