Reviewing the Economics of DI System Operations

By William E. Bornak


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The year 2008 saw unprecedented rises in the cost of industrial acid and caustic, as well as spot shortages. Steam demand was strong for most of the year, and almost all industrial manufacturing and production sectors were up. Then the real estate bubble burst with its attendant slowdown in the gross domestic product. Now, in 2009, paper mills are enforcing extended outages. General manufacturing is down, as is automotive manufacturing. Interestingly, the demand for electric power remains strong. Electric power requires steam that requires high quality feedwater, whether the fuel is fossil or nuclear. Power plant water is produced predominantly by two competing processes: membrane technology, and ion exchange (IX). They are not mutually exclusive, of course. Many IX systems have been retrofitted with membranes in front, and membrane systems often require a resin-based mixed-bed polisher to guarantee the leap to ultra-quality water.

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