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Our Technology

A watermaker or desalinator is a device used to obtain potable, drinkable water by reverse osmosis of seawater or brackish water. Reverse osmosis can be an energy-intensive process, that’s why we use an energy recovery pressure amplifier, making it possible to run your watermaker from a solar array, wind turbine, or battery bank. This pump lowers the amount of energy consumed by as much as 75% over conventional systems. 

How it works:

Conventional Watermakers

In a conventional watermaker, a high pressure pump similar to a pressure washer, boosts the incoming raw water pressure up to 800-1000 PSI (55 - 69 Bar). Large pumps use brute force to hammer seawater against a back-pressure valve in order to generate this pressure. Only a small percentage of the water pumped through a watermaker passes through the membranes and comes out as fresh drinking water. The result is that a significant amount of energy is wasted pumping the entire quantity of raw water to such a high pressure.

Energy Recovery Watermakers

When seawater exits the membranes in a watermaker, that water is still under pressure, up to 1000 PSI (69 Bar). An energy recovery device transfers the energy normally wasted in conventional systems at the membrane exit, and passes it to the incoming raw water, dramatically lowering the power required to operate the system. All Spectra Watermakers use a similar energy recovery technology; the high pressure waste stream from the membranes is channeled to the underside of the pump piston, allowing them to recover 90% of the available energy or more. All Spectra Watermakers adjust automatically (as part of the hydraulic design) to changes in water temperature and salinity so there is no need to make adjustments in different climates, bays, rivers, or oceans.

Learn more:

Clark Pump

In 1997 Spectra pioneered a new and highly efficient watermaker energy recovery device. The Clark Pump is a hydraulic intensifier and energy recovery device that uses a low pressure feed pump, in some systems as low as 60 PSI (4.1 Bar) to provide enough pressure for reverse osmosis to occur. The Clark Pump reduces energy consumption by as much as 75% over conventional systems by recycling the energy in the pressurized brine stream to boost the low pressure feed water up to 800 PSI (55 Bar). Clark Pumps are constructed of modern composites and engineered plastics to deliver many years of quiet, reliable service.

Pearson Pump

The Pearson Pump is a unique piston driven reverse osmosis pump with built in energy recovery technology. This unique technology allows systems to operate at as little as 25% of the power compared to conventional systems and it is noticeably more quiet than other systems similar in size. The Pearson Pump’s soft start technology means no amperage spikes. Constructed of engineered composites and super-duplex stainless steel for superior corrosion resistance and a long service life.

January 19, 2017
Water via Desalination Barge after Cyclone Winston, Fiji

We have been working with Sea Mercy, an NGO based in Fiji to provide desalinated water via a barge to isolated island communities.