WEG has partnered with Sacyr Industrial to provide essential equipment and support the expansion of a largescale seawater desalination plant in Tenerife. The project, completed through WEG subsidiary, WEG AUTRIAL, has increased the desalinated water production capacity of the site by 37 per cent, increasing its potential supply to 24,000 more households than before. 

Desalination describes the removal of salt from seawater to produce clean drinking water. This process is crucial for countries that have coastlines but have no readily available fresh water source. Canary Islands, such as Tenerife, are an example of where these operations are necessary. 

The plant came into operation in 2001 but has undertaken a remodelling plan to better support the population of Tenerife. The remodelling project, managed by Sacyr Industrial and operated by Valoriza Agua, has enabled a colossal 28,800 cubic metres of water to be desalinated each day. This is a 37 per cent increase in capacity compared to the previous 21,000 cubic metres per day. 

To support the remodelling project, WEG was approached to supply industrial power equipment to ensure the plant’s operations. Services included the installation of medium and low voltage electrical equipment, the installation of new Motor Control Centres (MCCs), plus the supply and installation of low voltage drives. This included the addition of 20 CFW11 variable speed drives (VSDs). 

“WEG has a wealth of experience in suppling industrial equipment for harsh environments”, explained Javier De La Morena Cancela at WEG Spain. “For applications like the desalination plant in Tenerife, it was crucial that all suppliers are well versed in the complexities and challenges of installing equipment that can operate in saline conditions.”

“For this application, it was essential for the equipment to be robust, reliable and able to withstand the environment. Crucially, it was also imperative that the equipment is as energy efficient as possible as one of the core goals of the project was to reduce the emissions of the entire plant.”  

“In addition to increasing production, the remodelling carried out by Sacyr have made it possible to increase the energy efficiency of the installation”, explained Paula Soriano, manager of the Empresa Mixta de Aguas de Santa Cruz de Tenerife (EMMASA), entity that manages the desalination plant in Santa Cruz de Tenerife. “[The remodelling is] achieving a reduction of emissions into the atmosphere of the environment of two million kilograms of CO2 per year, which is equivalent to the emissions of more than 1,700 new vehicles per year.”

The project has dramatically increased the conversion in the desalination plant, reducing the sea water needed to obtain the same amount of drinking water by 7,300 cubic metres per day. This volume is equivalent to almost four Olympic-size swimming pools a day.