ANDRITZ pumps for water and waste water applications

Water needs in the driest desert

ANDRITZ delivers pumps and centrifuges for the desalination plant in a Chilean mine.

The Atacama Desert in northern Chile is believed to be the driest desert on Earth, with the exception of the Polar regions. In spite of its inhospitable nature, the desert and surrounding region is a focal point of activity. The reason for this is its enormous wealth of natural resources. The abundant lithium, copper, silver, gold and platinum deposits are extracted in numerous local mines and form an important pillar of the economy in this South American country.

One of these mines is Quebrada Blanca located in northern Chile’s Tarapacá region near the Atacama Desert. At an altitude of 4,400 meters some 240 kilometers southeast of the town of Iquique, the mine produces copper cathodes by processing in an SX/EW plant.

ANDRITZ delivers pumps and centrifuges for the desalination plant in a Chilean mine in the Atacama Desert, Chile.

© AdobeStock

An efficient duo: copper mine with a desalination plant

In order to exploit the remaining copper resources in this deposit, this mine is now being expanded to include a copper concentrator with a production capacity of 140,000 tons per day. In order to use the Pacific Ocean, which is only about 150 kilometers away, as a water source, the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) expansion project includes a 165-kilometer water supply pipeline from the company’s own port which includes a desalination plant.

The reverse osmosis process will be used in the desalination plant. This process filters the water through several semi-permeable membranes to remove the salt and other impurities. After this treatment, five pumping stations pump the water to the concentrator to an altitude of 4,300 m, where it is needed for the copper extraction process. The residual salt concentrate (referred to as brine) is returned to the ocean in an environmentally compatible way through diffusers at a depth of 40 meters and a distance of 750 meters from the coastline.

To use the Pacific Ocean, which is only about 150 kilometers away, as a water source, the Quebrada Blanca Phase 2 (QB2) expansion project includes a 165-kilometer water supply pipeline from the company’s own port which includes a desalination plant.

To implement this venture and comply with the related stringent environmental protection measures, the mine operator Teck with a majority holding in Quebrada Blanca awarded the order to one of the globally leading water treatment specialists – IDE.  At the QB2 project, IDE is acting as EP (engineer and procurement supply) contractor. For this type of contract, the basic requirement is that key components for the desalination process – such as membranes, pumps and centrifuges – are only supplied by qualified companies with a healthy balance sheet and good financial standing. After a competitive bidding process, ANDRITZ was awarded the order to manufacture and deliver the process pumps for seawater desalination and the centrifuges to treat the brine.

Engineered success for key technologies

With a complete, high-quality pumps and centrifuge program, ANDRITZ covers most of the processes in modern, smart desalination plants. In this case, the Quebrada Blanca Desal Plant will be equipped with 11 ANDRITZ process pumps and two centrifuges.

Five ANDRITZ double-flow axial split-case pumps from the ASP series are provided as general booster pumps. 

© ANDRITZ

The pumps program here comprises five vertical line shaft pumps for the pre-treatment process. There three of these hydraulic machines act as backwash pumps. They transport the filtered seawater into the filter system to backwash the filters in the pre-treatment process, while the other two pumps convey the backwashing liquid from the pre-treatment system to the centrifuges for dewatering. 

In addition, five double-flow axial split-case pumps from the ASP series are provided as general booster pumps. As a part of the main process, they pump the filtered seawater to the high-pressure pumps. A single-stage centrifugal pump from the ACP series completes the pumps delivery. It conveys the filtered seawater to the so-called dissolved air flotation system (DAF) acting as DAF circulation pump. This is a water treatment process, which clarifies wastewater by removing suspended solids such as oil or other solid matter. All of these hydraulic machines fulfill the most stringent customer requirements in terms of efficiency, long lifetimes, ease of maintenance, and cost-effectiveness. Furthermore, the high efficiencies help to conserve valuable resources.

Three of the five ANDRITZ vertical line shaft pumps act as backwash pumps in the pretreatment process. 

© ANDRITZ

Due to its repeated contact with the aggressive seawater or salt water, the choice of material for the pump and also the centrifuge material is a crucial factor in an efficient desalination process.  This is why ANDRITZ is manufacturing the pumps and also the drum, scroll and feed pipe of the D-type decanter centrifuges from a special material: Duplex stainless steel. The structure of this steel is highly resistant to corrosion fatigue, energy absorption, erosion, and abrasion, as well as showing very little thermal expansion. However, the processing of duplex steel requires decades of experience and expertise. ANDRITZ has the necessary experience in the manufacture and use of this special material. Hence, high-quality machines manufactured by ANDRITZ from duplex steel are much more resistant than their counterparts made of the usual materials, for example, gray cast iron.

Duplex stainless steel. The structure of this steel is highly resistant to corrosion fatigue, energy absorption, erosion, and abrasion, as well as showing very little thermal expansion.

In addition to the choice of material for the equipment, energy-saving and ecologically compatible disposal of the brine, which is the residual salt, is vital. In order to dispose of this highly concentrated salt water safely, two ANDRITZ decanter centrifuges D4LL will be installed in the plant. They are to be used to dewater the brine. This process reduces its volume substantially and thus, provides a particularly low-cost means of disposal. 

Centrifuging is a mechanical separation process in which at least two materials with different densities are separated with the aid of centrifugal forces. The decanter centrifuge D from ANDRITZ leads the market in terms of energy efficiency. As a result of the highly efficient hydraulic structure of the rotating unit, the discharge radius of the clarified liquid – the centrate – is kept to a minimum. This helps to recover the kinetic energy in the liquid and lower the energy consumption by up to 15 percent. The TurboJet weir disc, which operates according to the principle of recoil in the same way as jet engines, recovers the remaining kinetic energy from the clarified liquid. In doing so, it reduces energy consumption by up to 30%. With a regenerative drive system, the braking energy of the inner scroll against the outer drum is recovered and directed back to the main motor. This process reduces energy consumption by another five percent. Optimization by means of the latest computer-based simulation methods guarantees the lowest possible flocculent consumption, reduces wear significantly and lowers the total energy consumption once again by another two percent.

In order to dispose of this highly concentrated salt water safely, two ANDRITZ decanter centrifuges D4LL will be installed in the plant. They are to be used to dewater the brine. This process reduces its volume substantially and thus provides a particularly low-cost means of disposal.

© ANDRITZ

Find out more...

Products

Innovative and targeted standard and customized pumps and motors for various applications and operations.

Read more

Industries

Custom-tailored pump solutions for various industries.

Read more

Pumps service

We provide first-class service, secure sustained customer satisfaction, and our pumps' reliability.

Read more

Research and development

Our commitment to research and development forms the basis for our advances in hydraulic machine manufacturing.

Read more
Contacts
ANDRITZ FZCO
Dubai Airport Free Zone (DAFZA)
Get in contact
ANDRITZ (China) Ltd.
P.R. China
Get in contact
ANDRITZ Separation and Pump Technologies India Private Limited
India
Get in contact
ANDRITZ HYDRO S.A.
Brazil
Get in contact
Downloads
  • Premium pumping technology for desalination PDF : 2.6 MB
  • ANDRITZ your partner for pumping solutions PDF : 13.6 MB