Rubber-coated valves for the Thames Water Desalination

Rubber-coated valves for the Thames Water Desalination Plant

Country: United Kingdom
Customer: Thames Water Utilities Ltd
Products: VAG EKN® Butterfly Valves with rubber-lining

London‘s growing population and increasing temperatures are putting it at risk of drought. According to Thames Water, the company that supplies the English capital with water, London’s demand for drinking water has increased by 15% in the last two decades and will continue to do so. According to the predictions, London's population is expected to reach 8 million by 2020.

Thames Water decided to take timely action and started constructing a desalination plant in the Thames estuary in 2006. Thames Water joined forces with two major players: Interserve, the leading planning and construction company for public projects in the United King­dom, and acciona Aqua, the Spanish leader in water treatment technology.

Not only the first plant in London, but also one of the largest in the world

At an estimated cost of 300 million euros, this plant will not only be the first in the city of London, but also one of the largest in the world. Work in Beckton, which is on the north bank of the Thames, is almost finished and the plant is due to go into operation in 2010. This means that an additional 150 million litres of drinking water will be available every day; a volume that covers the demand of about 10% of London's population.

Water will be drawn from the tidal river in Beckton during ebb tide. Because the plant is close to the Thames estuary, the water is very brackish as it consists of a mixture of river water and salty seawater. High-quality drinking water will be produced by forcing the water through a membrane and using reverse osmosis to remove salt and other impurities.

Extremely resistant valves needed, two rubber-lined VAG EKN® Butterfly Valves used

The water's high salt content makes it so corrosive that extremely resistant valves are needed to regulate it. Valves like the ones VAG has been producing for this very same purpose for many years. The valves have a special surface coating that prevents them from corroding and increases their service life. Simon Wilkinson, project manager at Interserve, was happy to receive advice from VAG, the leading valve manufacturer from Germany. 'Wilson McPhail from VAG's UK office did an excellent job of explaining the differences between the valves,' says Simon Wilkinson. 'Based on his information, we decided to use two rubber-lined VAG EKN® Butterfly Valves DN 300 and DN 1400, PN 16.

The ordered valves reached their destination by ship according to schedule in January 2009 and were assembled in the planned construction phase. The first tests were carried out and the valves accepted as early as May 2009. 'We're now in the final phase of construction and under a lot of pressure to get the job done and open the plant,' explains Simon Wilkinson of Interserve. 'The way VAG handled the whole order process and the timely delivery of the valves reaffirmed their professionalism.' Desalination is an energy-intensive process, which is why the plant in Beckton will initially run on bio­diesel. The use of sustainable forms of energy is currently being investigated.

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Additional information:
  • Thames Water Desalination Plant in London, UK
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