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Energy Recovery Expands Desalination Reach in Chile’s Mining Industry

Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII), the leader in harnessing reusable energy from industrial fluid flows and pressure cycles, today announced that Spanish water company, ACCIONA Agua, has selected the Company’s premium PX® technology for the Minera CAP expansion desalination project.  Earlier this year, ACCIONA was chosen by the Compañía Minera del Pacífico (CAP Group) to carry out water conduits and concentrate project works related to the Minero Cerro Negro Norte Project located in the Copiapó Valley, in Chile’s Atacama Region III. The desalination operation will have an initial capacity of 21,830m3/day, with a potential of 39,310 m3/day within the next year.

This is welcoming news to Chile’s mining industry, which contributes to 50 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) for the northern Atacama region and 20 percent of the country’s GDP. This area is referred to as the “desalination frontline” as the agricultural and mining industries compete with each other for current fresh water production.  Atacama begins just above the capital of Santiago de Chile and is home to some of the most arid land in the world.  This region is rich in natural resources, mainly copper and lithium, as well as gold, silver, iron and molybdenum.  Mining is by far the main economic activity; mined copper exports alone stand for more than one third of government income. In many northern parts of Chile water extraction is more than the regular rate of replenishment, which is not sustainable long term.  This puts further risks on the entire aquifer if they reach the limits of seawater intrusion.  Fortunately, the Chilean government has a very large “aquifer” to the west, the Pacific Ocean, which makes desalination a very simple and real solution to water scarcity problems.

“We chose Energy Recovery’s PX Q Series device because it has the highest efficiency and availability of any other solution on the market.  From a profit and environmental standpoint, it makes the most sense for this operation,” stated Julio Zorrilla, ACCIONA Agua’s Director of Construction for the Copiapó Plant. “Energy Recovery has a strong track record in Chile and its service and aftermarket support are proven in the region.”

“Chile is on the forefront of a major desalination boom and we are proud to help contribute to the country’s economic development in this regard,” remarks Tom Rooney, CEO and President of Energy Recovery. “We look forward to working with ACCIONA and the Chilean government in the years to come and helping our partners attain their high environmental and quality objectives.”

One of ACCIONA’S goals is to save energy with Energy Recovery’s PX technology.  In phase I of the project, the water company will be saving 19 million kWh/ year or $USD 1.9 million and reducing the plant’s CO² emissions by over 11,000 tons.  The potential additional savings for Phase II would be 15 million kWh/year or $USD 1.5 million and close to 9,000 tons of CO² per year.

Energy Recovery technology is well known in Chile and is being used in numerous desalination plants throughout the country.  The Company is working with Spanish water companies ACCIONA Agua, Valoriza, Aqualia and Cadagua, and is in early stage discussions with Israeli, American and Korean companies around the world who view Chile as a strong future market.  Many of the legacy plants are still using Pelton technology because electricity costs were lower at the time of design.  Now that energy costs have risen significantly, the PX technology is an attractive choice for upgrade in the near future as the payback for investment is within months.

 

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About Energy Recovery

Energy Recovery Inc. (NASDAQ: ERII) technology harvests power from high-pressure fluid flows and pressure cycles.  Through collaboration with industry, Energy Recovery helps make industrial processes within water, oil & gas, and other industries more profitable and environmentally sustainable.  With over 14,000 energy recovery devices installed worldwide, Energy Recovery sets the standard for engineering excellence, cost savings, and technical services to clients across the globe.  Year after year, the company’s clean technologies save clients over $1.2 Billion (USD) in energy costs.  Headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area, Energy Recovery has offices in Madrid, Shanghai, and Dubai.  www.energyrecovery.com