The US Navy's new prototype reverse osmosis (RO) system has successfully completed testing, which is being developed for littoral combat ships (LCS).
Conducted by the Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC), the testing showed that the RO system can significantly increase drinking water production capacity, effectively remove elevated levels of particles common in littoral waters. In addition, overall energy and maintenance is reduced, as well as allowing operations in littoral zones.
NAVFAC EXWC commanding officer captain Mark K Edelson said: "The RO systems being developed for the navy's littoral combat ships will enable their crews to have access to fresh water at all times.
"Water is a key resource for our warfighters and the ability to convert seawater into freshwater, as these systems will provide, take on even greater importance should these ships see actual combat or be deployed to the scene of a natural disaster."
During testing, which NAVFAC EXWC provided design guidance for, the system was extensively evaluated based on terms such as measuring the water quality, maintenance and energy consumption of the media filter RO unit.
The Seawater Desalination Test Facility at EXWC served as a test bed for the ONR Future Naval Capabilities (FNC) Advanced Shipboard Desalination programme.
With funding support from the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the LCS Program Office (PMS 501) will now move forward with the development of a hardened RO unit.
Fitted with a media filter and cartridge filter pretreatment, the RO unit will be capable of producing 4,000gal of water per day.
The hardened RO unit is expected to be delivered to EXWC in the first quarter of fiscal year 2017.
Post delivery, the unit will conduct an additional 30 days of testing on seawater and will be deployed for a six-month test on a LCS.