Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII), the leader in capturing reusable energy from industrial fluid flows and pressures cycles, today announced that it has signed a mutual cooperation agreement with Seoul-based global company GS Engineering & Construction Corporation (GS E&C Corp) which is a part of Korean conglomerate GS Group,  to significantly advance  osmotic power generation using Energy Recovery’s state-of-the-art  PX Pressure Exchanger® technology.  A pilot program is already underway and it is anticipated that a unit will be operational in 2014 at GS E&C Corp R&D center in Korea.

The revolutionary process of Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) is created by mixing of seawater and freshwater and the resulting osmotic power serves as both a renewable and consistent source of electricity.  While still the in the early stages, the best estimates of global production potential of osmotic power exceed 1,600 terawatt hours, or the equivalent of half of Europe’s entire energy demand.

Initially developed for seawater reverse osmosis (SWRO) desalination, Energy Recovery’s PX® devices have shown tremendous potential and interest across multiple industries due to their adaptability, reliability and efficiency.

How Energy Recovery’s PX Pressure Exchangers® Work

Energy Recovery’s PX devices are currently deployed at SWRO desalination plants all over the world. By recycling the energy typically wasted as part of the reject stream, the PX devices-which operate at 98 percent efficiency-reduce energy use by up to 60 percent, helping to make desalination an affordable solution to global water scarcity. Energy Recovery’s devices function on a similar principle in osmotic power processes. You can watch a video of that process here: How the PX Pressure Exchanger works.

How Osmotic Power Works

For many years the idea of PRO or osmotic power was ‘pie in the sky’ scientific theory and not seen as a viable energy solution.  Today, the fields of chemical engineering and science are looking at this renewable energy source as a major solution to the world’s water and energy scarcity problems.  Osmotic power process can convert the pressure differential between two water streams into hydraulic pressure that can be used to drive a turbine that produces electrical energy.  The PX devices work in unison with the turbines to cost-effectively enable stable, reliable, environmentally friendly energy production anywhere freshwater and saltwater are available.

For more information on how Osmotic Power works, see here.

The advantages of osmotic power are numerous:

  • Generates clean power with no harmful emissions
  • Seawater is abundant and readily available
  • Solution is scalable and applicable worldwide
  • More reliable than other power sources (i.e. Wind and solar) because the power generated is base loaded

Proven Partners

GS E&C Corp is one of the main Korean multinational firms investing heavily in R&D in the global water and renewable energy markets. In 2011 GS E&C Corp acquired Spanish desalination facility maker, Inima, one of the world’s top ten reverse osmosis (RO) desalination specialists, for $US 287M. Through this acquisition, GS E&C Corp aims to expand its RO desalination business operations. Soon thereafter, GS E&C Corp was issued a multimillion-dollar grant from the South Korean government to expand their research and development program to design a pilot plant for a Pressure Retarded Osmosis (PRO) application.  For GS E&C Corp, entering into a joint R&D effort with Energy Recovery was a logical extension and next step given its market leadership in reverse osmosis desalination.

“We’re thrilled to partner with Energy Recovery on osmotic power technology that promises to bring about innovative and sustainable change,” said Mr. Jeong Woo Seo, CTO of GS E&C. “We chose the PX based on the value and proven reliability and performance that it has provided to us and dozens of other engineering firms worldwide for over two decades.”

“GS Engineering & Construction Corp is a visionary company, on the horizon of the next big thing.  We have been looking forward to developing this technology with a strategic technology partner to make osmotic power a reality across the world,” said Tom Rooney, CEO of Energy Recovery. “It’s ideal to collaborate with a proven engineering market leader such as GS Engineering & Construction Corp and thrilling to adapt our core technology for new sources of renewable energy.”

About Energy Recovery

Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII) technology harvests power from high-pressure fluid flows and pressure cycles.  Through collaboration with industry, Energy Recovery helps make industrial processes within water, oil & gas, and other industries more profitable and environmentally sustainable.  With over 15,000 energy recovery devices installed worldwide, Energy Recovery sets the standard for engineering excellence, cost savings, and technical services to clients across the globe.  Year after year, the company’s clean technologies save clients over $1.4 Billion (USD) in energy costs.  Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Energy Recovery has offices in Madrid, Shanghai, and Dubai.

About GS E&C Corp. Headquartered in Seoul, South Korea, GS Group is the 8th largest conglomerate in Korea. In 2005, GS E&C, an important part of GS Group, rebranded itself from LG Engineering and Construction to GS Engineering and Construction. Since then, it has expanded globally, managing megaprojects in the Middle East, Southeast Asia, and around the world. The Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) evaluates it as the top 10 percent best company among 2,500 market capitalization companies in the world.