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Desalination plant no threat to environment, says Thames Water

THAMES WATER this week hit back at claims that its proposed desalination plant on the Thames Estuary would be a major source of greenhouse gas pollution.

'The overall increase in energy consumption is overshadowed by the evolution of discretionary personal energy consumption, ' said Thames Water head of process design Nick Fawcett.

'The energy used by the plant would increase power consumption equivalent to (the amount) if one-third of households supplied were to change their televisions from conventional cathode ray tube sets to plasma flat screens, or about a third of homes were to install a dishwasher, ' Fawcett said.

Over the course of its 25 year design life the plant is expected to be operational for only 43% of the time, consuming between 5.7MW/m3 and 6.3MW/m3 of treated water.

Thames is appealing against a decision by Mayor of London Ken Livingstone to block its application to build the desalination plant.

The application has gone to a public inquiry, now in its fifth week.

This week Fawcett explained that the plant has been designed to minimise its energy requirements.

Reverse osmosis uses less than a quarter of the energy of the better-known thermal desalination process.

To further minimise the reverse osmosis energy requirement, water will be abstracted from the Thames Estuary during the last two hours of each ebb tide, when salinity will be lowest.

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