Victoria’s Pani Energy tapped to help reduce costs for desalination plants around the world

 

A U.S.-based water-desalination company has tapped Victoria’s Pani Energy to help it reduce the cost of the desalination process for its sites around the world.

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Pennsylvania-based Aquatech International has engaged Pani’s cloud-based artificial intelligence technology for use at a number of desalination plants.

“This means a lot of good things for Pani,” said chief executive Devesh Bharadwaj. “It’s a good demonstration that the leaders in desalination really value our technology, and see that it’s the next technological innovation in the water-desalination space. It gives us access to a large market and will help grow the company.”

Pani Energy has created technology that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to enhance water-treatment systems in industrial sites like pulp and paper mills, auto plants and municipal facilities.

The technology provides real-time information to the operators, allowing them to make the system more efficient, which also makes them less expensive to operate.

Bharadwaj said many water treatment plants around the world use old systems and antiquated tools.

The financial details of the partnership between the two companies was not disclosed, and Bharadwaj wouldn’t say how many sites would be employing his company’s technology for competitive reasons.

He did say Aquatech has already started working with Pani’s technology to incorporate it into its LoWatt desalination process. When that is complete it will be introduced at multiple sites around the world.

“This partnership enables us to better serve our customers and address the biggest pain points of desalination — energy consumption and biofouling,” Aquatech chief operating officer Ravi Chidambaran said in a statement.

Using Pani’s technology will mean a reduction in the costs associated with desalination, which could trigger more adoption of desalination as an answer to water scarcity. Aquatech notes that energy accounts for more than 50 per cent of a desalination plant’s operating cost.

Yale University and the International Water Association estimate there are as many as 20,000 desalination plants around the world, with production capacity of around 90 million cubic metres per day, providing water for more than 300 million people.

Last fall, Pani received a $2.8-million federal grant that was expected to help speed the company’s global expansion and help roll out its optimization technology to industrial clients in plants across Canada and around the Asia-Pacific region.

aduffy@timescolonist.com

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