AquaGib’s Potable Water Production Gets Energy Efficiency Upgrade

As part of its commitment to the environment, AquaGib Ltd has upgraded part of its water production facilities with a more energy efficient pumping system.  The Chief Minster, Fabian Picardo, along with Minister for Environment, John Cortes, visited the AquaGib Reverse Osmosis facility today, with Chris Gomez, Water Production Director giving a presentation on the work that has been completed by the Water Production team.

Gibraltar’s potable water is produced by the desalination of sea water via five Reverse Osmosis (RO) units operated by AquaGib Ltd. The process involved in desalinating sea water involves several forms of filtration, which finishes with a very precise filter that removes microscopic particles, including viruses, bacteria and metal ions. This process requires the pump system to produce a high pumping pressure that forces the water particles through the filter, whilst filtering out all these unwanted particles.

These RO units are connected directly to the electrical grid and due to the high pressures generated by the pumps, the electrical demand of these units on the grid is very high. To put it in perspective according to the World Energy Council the average European household will use 3,600 kWh per year, whilst a single RO unit will use on average 5,600 kWh in a single day, or 28,000 kWh per day with all five units operating.

With this high energy demand, and AquaGib’s commitment to a clean environment, the decision was taken to replace the existing pumping system with a modern system with higher electrical efficiency. In conjunction with Oil & Water Supply Ltd and Kirton Engineering Ltd, a new system was designed, and over a period of a year and a half, four of the older units have had their high-pressure pump system replaced.

The impact of these changes is significant and electrical demand from the RO units has gone down by over 30%.  One unit now requires on average 3,600 kWh per day to operate and will still produce the same amount of water it was producing before the upgrade. This has a direct impact on reducing AquaGib’s carbon footprint, which is in line with its commitment to reduce its environmental impact.

Minister for Environment John Cortes, who is Chair of AquaGib, commented, “AquaGib has been working in support of Government’s policy of increased energy efficiency in response to the Climate Emergency.  These new systems will make a tremendous saving in energy and mean in turn a 30% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from the production of water from these plants.  It is a very significant step forward in Gibraltar’s response.”