FISIA ITALIMPIANTI chooses Outokumpu’s LDX 2101® duplex stainless steel for proprietary desalination technology.
Freshwater is one of the world’s most valuable resources. Many regions that are troubled by alarming shortages of this asset can solve the problem with desalination, the process of obtaining freshwater from the earth’s vast reserves of seawater. Yet, desalination faces challenges: high demands on materials and high costs, which can discourage investment in new plants.
Outokumpu supplies stainless steel for the majority of the world desalination plant contractors, for the harshest project environments to fight the challenges of the process’s high corrosiveness.
In late March 2006, Outokumpu finished a delivery of 4,000 tons of hot rolled plates for three desalination plant extensions by FISIA ITALIMPIANTI of Italy, a self-declared technological leader in Multi Stage Flash (MSF) desalination. Much of the delivery was in Outokumpu’s proprietary LDX 2101® duplex stainless steel, a grade that represents the latest stage of MSF technology development and has the potential of making FISIA an increasingly competitive player in the desalination sector.
MSF, the most commonly used desalination method to date, is a thermal process whereby seawater is heated, flashed into steam in a series of evaporation chambers and consequently condensed. In the early stages of MSF, the chambers were manufactured out of mild steel, to be later replaced by mild steel clad with 316-type stainless steel to gain better corrosion resistance.
Outokumpu introduced a better solution: building the chambers out of solid duplex stainless steel. The benefits are improved corrosion resistance and strength compared to austenitic stainless steel. Duplex chambers can be built with thinner plates, resulting in less material, less need for welding, and easier handling. The first solid duplex chambers were built in 2004.
Outokumpu’s business development went further to make full use of the Outokumpu range of duplex stainless steels. The availability of LDX 2101® made solid duplex chambers increasingly attractive to FISIA. Thanks to a low nickel content, LDX 2101® has better price stability than high-nickel stainless steels.
The evaporation chambers of three new desalination plant extensions by FISIA will have a “dual duplex” construction, using a combination of the more corrosion resistant 2205 and LDX 2101® in less corrosive sections, both grades produced by Outokumpu. The combination translates into increasingly affordable desalination plant investments and, as a result, can make freshwater increasingly available where it is most needed.