Desalination Pilot to Test Advanced Vapor Compression

American Water, the largest investor-owned U.S. water and wastewater utility company, recently announced that its subsidiary, Applied Water Management, has been awarded a contract from Terrabon LLC for engineering services and the operation of a 50,000-gallon-per-day desalination pilot plant in Laredo, Texas.

This plant will employ a new desalination technology, known as Advanced Vapor Compression (AdVETM), which is expected to reduce the capital and operating costs of treating water with concentrations of dissolved solids above levels acceptable for drinking water. Engineering work is expected to begin this month and the company is expected to begin operating the facility by the end of 2009.

The project is designed to provide additional fresh water for residents of Laredo, which has an estimated population of 215,000 and is located in the semi-arid area on the Texas-Mexico border. Laredo is near the limit for water that can be drawn from the Rio Grande River and groundwater has been impacted by salt intrusion.

In addition to reviewing the operability of Terrabon’s equipment design and preparing site designs, once constructed, Applied Water Management will operate the facility as a subcontractor to Terrabon on behalf of the city of Laredo.

“We are extremely pleased to be awarded this contract and are committed to delivering excellent service that the residents of Laredo can depend upon,” said Tim Davies, president of Applied Water Management. “As the operator of the nation’s largest seawater desalination plant in Tampa, Florida and the DBO for another pilot plant in Monterey, California, American Water is committed to providing successful solutions to water supply challenges through innovative technologies and environmental stewardship."

“The world’s need for safe, clean water is becoming increasingly urgent,” said Gary W. Luce, Terrabon CEO. “The development of this AdVETM pilot project is an important step in securing and providing clean water for the people of Laredo and ultimately, for people around the globe. We look forward to working with Applied Water Management to implement this cost-effective solution.”

The Applied Water Management Group is headquartered in Hillsborough, N.J., and provides customized water and wastewater management solutions to real estate developers, industrial clients, and small to mid-sized communities.

Terrabon, L.L.C. was formed in 1995 to commercialize three technologies developed at Texas A&M University. Terrabon plans to deploy these cutting-edge technologies through licensing and joint venture arrangements. Its MixAlco™ technology converts biomass to green gasoline. AdVETM is a water desalination process that utilizes advanced vapor-compression evaporation to desalinate salt water into potable water. SoluPro is a bioproducts process that converts inexpensive protein-bearing waste material into animal feed and "green" commercial adhesives. These technologies are exclusively licensed to Terrabon by Texas A&M University through its Office of Technology Commercialization. For more information, visit