Desalination plant installs composite pipes

The Barcelona desalination plant.
The Barcelona desalination plant.

The ATLL (Aigües Ter Llobregat) desalination plant in Barcelona is one of the largest seawater desalination plants in Europe with a capacity of 200 000 m³ (200 million litres) per day. This plant uses reverse osmosis technology.

Protecciones Plásticas (Protesa) was responsible for the manufacturing, supply and erection of the pipes and fittings in glass reinforced plastic (GRP) composite, corresponding to the intermediate and low pressure circuits of the new Llobregat desalination plant.

Protesa selected DSM Composite Resins’ Atlac® vinyl ester resins for the piping and fitting parts of the intake and pre-treatment lines, designed and engineered by UTE (Degrémont-Suez-Drace), for high pressure salt removal of the reverse osmosis process.

The scope of Protesa for this project included the pipelines and fittings of the seawater pumping section, sand filters, brine line, raw water pumping, water product line, micro filtration system lines and the suction to high pressure pumps in the pre-treatment process of the plant. Practically all the overhead pipes provided in the plant were fabricated and installed by Protesa by means of chemically welded joints.

The total project covers about 15 km of different pipes: collecting pipes, impulsion pipes and process pipes with diameters ranging from 0.1 m to 2 m.

The GRP pipes and fittings, fabricated using a crossed filament winding process, provide support and coverage to the process lines in the seawater desalination plant. The mechanical specific properties of the Atlac 580, chosen by Protesa for this project, are competitive with other classic materials such as steel, yet they present corrosion proof qualities, unique and inherent to high performance vinyl ester materials. In addition, they significantly lower the direct and indirect costs of the installation.  

This article is an extract from the feature Opportunities for composites in water desalination, which was published in the March/April 2010 issue of Reinforced Plastics magazine. Read the complete feature here.