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Clean Water Key to Delivering Reliable Power to Canadian Residents

FILMTEC™ ECO Reverse Osmosis Elements Help Keep an Alberta Power Station Operational Despite Challenging Source Water


High-quality water is of paramount importance to power generation. It helps facilitate efficient and reliable operations, protect c­­ritical equipment, and minimize environmental impact. Source water for many power plants, however, is far from ideal. That is certainly the case for a power station in Alberta, where an innovative two-pass reverse osmosis (RO) design was used to optimize the plant’s existing configuration. The design includes DOW FILMTEC™ ECO 440i Reverse Osmosis elements and DOW FILMTEC™ XFRLE-400/34i Reverse Osmosis elements. Since their installation, FILMTEC ECO elements have resulted in 30 percent more energy savings in the system’s second pass and FILMTEC XFRLE has improved overall pressure drops and fouling.

The lake source water at the power station is derived from a combination of the North Saskatchewan River, mine drainage, plant site drainage, sewage effluent and chemical neutralization ponds. Due to the highly variable nature of source water, the system requires thicker feed spacer elements to reduce fouling rates, and to lower the pressure drop in the first pass.

“To combat this water source challenge, we designed a two-pass RO system with state-of-the-art FILMTEC XFRLE elements for the first pass and FILMTEC ECO 440i elements for the second pass,” said Denise Haukkala, technical service, Dow Water & Process Solutions.

Together, these low energy elements provide a solution to treat the power station’s high-fouling source water, and deliver high-quality permeate for the boiler feed process. FILMTEC ECO and FILMTEC XFRLE elements are optimized with low pressure drop feed spacers to allow for lower feed operating pressures, which help reduce operating costs and counter the effects of the cool feed water temperature range (7-26°C). FILMTEC ECO elements have also helped reduce chemical usage, when the plant opted not to degas the carbon dioxide with caustic in the second pass, while maintaining high permeate quality for continuous electrodeionization (CEDI) polishing prior to feeding the boiler.

Power plants rely on a steady stream of water to convert heat energy into electrical energy to drive the turbines that run the electric generators. To accomplish this, the plants require high-quality feedwater to operate their boiler and cooling system. The treatment of boiler feedwater is extremely critical, as problems can result from the use of untreated water in extreme pressure and temperature environments, including lower efficiency, overheating, damage, and the need for frequent cleaning. Since 95 percent of water used in plant operations can be reused, it is vital that both the feedwater and recycled steams are effectively treated to prevent scale and corrosion in the steam water circuit.

“Highly variable source water and cooler feed temperatures can present unique energy and fouling challenges for Canadian power plants,” remarks Wendy Rae, account manager, Dow Water & Process Solutions. “We are proud to provide early adopters of innovative technology with solutions to help lower their operating costs, reduce plant downtime, and maintain product water quality and consistency.”

Recognizing the perilous state of water demand, FILMTEC ECO elements’ unique configuration offers the possibility of higher rejection of salts at significantly reduced operating pressures, helping deliver up to 40 percent better water purification while using up to 30 percent less energy, resulting in up to 19 percent lower operating costs. FILMTEC ECO membrane technology recently won a prestigious Edison Award for its innovation and contribution to combat global water scarcity. The new technology was also named Dow’s second-ever Breakthrough to a World Challenge as part of the Company’s 2015 Sustainability Goals .

About Dow Water & Process Solutions

A global leader in sustainable separation and purification technology, Dow Water & Process Solutions is making real progress in the world. We’re helping to make water safer and more accessible, food taste better, pharmaceuticals more effective and industries more efficient and spearheading the development of sustainable technologies that integrate water and energy requirements. Dow Water & Process Solutions offers a broad portfolio of ion exchange resins, reverse osmosis membranes, ultrafiltration membranes, fine particle filters and electrodeionization products, with strong positions in a number of major application areas, including industrial and municipal water, industrial processes, pharmaceuticals, power, oil and gas, residential water and waste and water reuse. More information about Dow Water & Process Solutions can be found at

About Dow

Dow (NYSE: DOW) combines the power of science and technology to passionately innovate what is essential to human progress. The Company is driving innovations that extract value from the intersection of chemical, physical and biological sciences to help address many of the world’s most challenging problems such as the need for clean water, clean energy generation and conservation, and increasing agricultural productivity. Dow’s integrated, market-driven, industry-leading portfolio of specialty chemical, advanced materials, agrosciences and plastics businesses delivers a broad range of technology-based products and solutions to customers in approximately 180 countries and in high growth sectors such as packaging, electronics, water, coatings and agriculture. In 2013, Dow had annual sales of more than $57 billion and employed approximately 53,000 people worldwide. The Company’s more than 6,000 products are manufactured at 201 sites in 36 countries across the globe. References to “Dow” or the “Company” mean The Dow Chemical Company and its consolidated subsidiaries unless otherwise expressly noted. More information about Dow can be found at


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