Alion Awarded Two Navy Contracts Totaling $5M to Develop Advanced Shipboard Desalination Systems; Technology Solutions Company will Design and Integrate Systems for Coastal and Open Waters with Increased Performance and Reduced Energy Needs.
Generating fresh water from sea water is a vital capability for Navy ships, yet current shipboard systems struggle to remove contaminants from the water found in coastal areas. To improve this capability, Alion Science and Technology, an employee-owned, engineering, R&D, IT and operational solutions company, was awarded two contracts totaling $5 million to develop an advanced, energy-efficient shipboard desalination system for the Office of Naval Research (ONR).
Under these contracts, Alion will develop desalination plants that include advanced micro filter cleaning processes while also requiring lower power, volume and weight than current systems. Alion will design two systems: a smaller unit which can purify up to 4,000 gallons per day, and a larger one designed to treat up to 100,000 gallons of water daily.
While existing systems can operate effectively more than 99 percent of the time in the open ocean, their uptime drops to as low as 50 percent in littoral and near-shore environments, according to ONR; the systems were simply not designed to deal with the volume and types of biological and chemical particulates found along coastlines. Alion will develop and integrate new technologies to bring system availability to 95 percent in the littorals while also reducing maintenance needs.
Greg Bryant, Alion Senior Vice President and Manager of Integrated Solutions Group, explained that operating in coastal areas are essential to the Navy’s strategy. “We are confident that we can meet ONR’s design requirements and performance goals and deliver units ready for shipboard evaluation,” Bryant said, adding, “Alion’s unique technologies, coupled with our experience developing a prior version of a Navy desalination system, will help provide future combatant ships with the ability to operate for extended periods in both open and littoral waters.”
ONR’s Advanced Shipboard Water Desalination program is being developed through the Future Naval Capabilities program. Full prototype demonstrations are expected in 2014.