Revolutionising Sustainable Water Usage
Writer: Emily Jarvis
Project Manager: Josh Hyland
After decades of research and development, Danfoss HPP (High Pressure Pumps) seeks to revolutionise sustainable water usage for a variety of applications through its high pressure pump systems that present one of the most cost-effective and reliable solutions available today for desalination, humidification, adiabatic cooling, cleaning and applications in the oil & gas industry.
In just 10 years, around half of the global population is expected to live in water-stressed areas, with fresh water scarcity threatening health and prosperity in many parts of the world, and the UN predicting an increase in demand on this precious resource of 55 percent by 2050. This increasing pressure on traditional water management systems is driving many companies and individuals to find a sustainable solution to the problem. Moreover, water shortage is fast becoming critical to local farming and food production that also needs to be addressed in reaction to climate change.
“What started as a Danfoss Group project exploring opportunities to replace oil with water in hydraulic machinery quickly grew wings and transformed into something entirely different. We began researching applications which require the pumping of high pressure water; identifying reverse osmosis, ultra pure water and tap water as the three key areas that we could create meaningful products for,” explains Tommy Hansen, Vice President of Danfoss HPP.
Addressing a need
In the late 1990s, Danfoss HPP was formed as a culmination of past research and market experience coming together to address the world’s energy and utility needs.
Hansen recalls: “It was important for us to remember that our long R&D process would result in a high potential gain in the long-term. We took a chance and dedicated our time to finding ways to help the environment, which ultimately paid off.”
Leveraging the wider Group’s global presence, corporate structure and experienced teams, Danfoss HPP was able to deploy its new product range around the world; working with some of the most aggressive fluids that can be pumped. “This is where we have found our niche,” Hansen adds. “For example, our ultra pure water applications are designed and constructed to withstand even the harshest environments, offering a return on investment with minimal maintenance required.”
Its current value-add product range now comprises high pressure pumps, valves and isobaric energy recovery devices (ERDs) used for reverse osmosis across a wide spectrum of applications in the oil & gas, tap water and ultra pure water subsectors.
With Europe representing around half of its business, Danfoss HPP has been working on growing its second, third and fourth largest markets in recent years; namely the US, the Middle East and Asia; with a concerted focus on China.
In line with this, the Company is now looking to move its production to bigger facilities to keep up with demand, investing nine percent of its turnover into its continuous innovation processes to reach its targets; including a significant proportion of this devoted to installing new equipment to optimise production flow.
“Similarly, we are implementing automation in key areas across our assembly lines and testing facilities to ensure the end result each time is of a consistent quality. This also helps us to keep to our timelines and be as efficient as possible.
“These elements are designed to better position us in our ambition to achieve TS16949 compliance and subsequently achieve world-class status,” Hansen highlights.
Already benefitting from Danfoss Group’s presence in more than 100 markets, Danfoss HPP is able to showcase its new offering to a huge range of potential customers.
“Our bigger production facility will prepare us for accelerated demand for our products, as the need for sustainable water production is tipped to increase,” he says.
In line with its facility improvements, Danfoss HPP is reacting to the huge demand for drinking water coming from the Middle East and China, as well as demands for other applications including reverse osmosis and high pressure pumps in the oil & gas industry; such as for pumping glycol, wash water or chemical injection.
“In October, 2015 we launched two major products at the IDA exhibition in San Diego; namely the APP 86 high pressure pump capable of handling bigger capacities and a new ERD - the iSave 50-70 - which has higher energy recovery rate. Specifically developed for reverse osmosis applications, we have already secured sales on the order book, with a good mix of new and returning customers,” Hansen adds.
The APP 86 is Danfoss HPP’s largest high pressure positive displacement pump yet, which can be paired with the new ERD to achieve up to 90 percent energy efficiency and up to a 20 percent electricity saving when compared to other ERD and pump packages.
Furthermore, the iSave 50 and iSave 70 models can achieve flow rates of up to 70 cubic metres of water an hour, and Danfoss HPP has utilised the same design principals from the model’s predecessor to create a more compact and energy efficient unit.
“For this latest technological innovation, our engineers had to re-think the construction of our isobaric pressure exchanger. Along the way, they also picked up a few new international patents and broke new ground in Danfoss’s long tradition of precision manufacturing at our dedicated iSave production facility in Denmark,” he details.
In addition to this, the Company is due to launch a selection of products to other markets, such as high pressure water injection for gas turbine aggregator’s.
With challenge comes opportunity
Complying with regulations in different parts of the world doesn’t just bring new challenges, but also a wealth of local opportunities and experience.
“Being able to follow the Group’s business model from our central office in Denmark, while being anchored locally, is vitally important,” says Hansen. “Quite often, we base our production and central functions in areas where we can access qualified, competent local people within our countries of operation; and the same goes for our procurement,” he adds.
Likewise, the HPP division is able to utilise the Group’s wider career programme, offering skills transfer opportunities for its staff and the chance to be stationed abroad at select locations as part of their individual skills development.
“When we run large projects, we can then utilise staff to engender the right balance of global expertise and local market understanding in that country of operation,” Hansen adds.
Supported by its four key pillars that mirror the latest industry trends, Danfoss HPP has been able to reapply the skills it had already gained from researching hydraulic solutions to create an innovative and unique niche product that represents the visionary, behind-the-scenes ideas at work to combat climate change and water shortages.
Along with the global emphasis on sustainability and energy saving, these pillars led the Danfoss Group to address its own energy usage, announcing in November, 2015, that it plans to use half as much energy to run its business by 2030. “Our products are designed to add value within our pillars - climate, energy efficiency, infrastructure and food preservation - delivering value and energy efficiency to businesses around the world, making it vital that we also make the right internal moves to honour this,” Hansen emphasises.
He concludes: “Going forward, we will continue to invest significant amounts into R&D so as to continuously innovate; and this same attitude to invest in success is transferable to our forward-thinking and valued team.
“In such a niche but growing market, we do not seek to copy our competitors; we aim to set the bar h