By Michael Kanellos
Energy Recovery (ERII), which makes energy efficient desalination equipment, bought Pump Engineering for $20 million and one million shares of Energy Recovery stock. Pump specializes in energy-efficient seawater pumps. (Energy Recovery held one of the few greentech IPOs last year).
With Pump, Energy Recovery says it can offer a more complete suite of tools to municipalities and others building desalination plants. It also gets the company into a new market, namely pumps. Reverse osmosis desalination is generally energy intensive: water gets highly pressurized before the salt can be removed. Energy Recovery's machines harness the pressure in the wastewater streams that flow from reverse osmosis systems and then feed it to the pressurizing machines at the front of the process, thereby lowering the total energy required.
Exploiting this pressure from about 5 kilowatts to 6 kilowatts per cubic meter to 2 kilowatts per cubic meter. The system is also 97 percent efficient on average, which in turn makes the reverse osmosis process 60 percent efficient.
The company also provides Norway's Statkraft for equipment for osmotic power stations, one of the more novel forms of alternative energy.