Food production takes water. As does Sea Harvest when cultivating fish. For the South African company, using water wisely is key.
Big blue fishing boats are lined up along the quay in Saldanha, a natural sheltered harbour on the west coast of South Africa. Known for being the biggest harbour exporting iron ore in the whole of Africa, it is also one of the main fish and food processing plants for Sea Harvest, a leading and internationally recognised fishing and food company.
At this moment in time almost all the boats have landed huge amounts of fish, waiting to be processed.“We have recently expanded our production significantly and that has only been possible with the help of Grundfos,” says Cliffton Rajgopaul, Asset Care Manager at Sea Harvest. The fish factory is the biggest employer in the area and many hands are needed to process the fish. The Fresh Fish Processing (FFP) factory utilises a significant amount of water to de-ice and preserve the quality of the fish, as well as maintain the required international food safety standards throughout the production process.
Being a water-consuming company meant that Sea Harvest was very close to shutting down, at least temporarily, during the massive drought that hit South Africa at the beginning of 2018. At that time, they were mainly using municipal water and they were facing closure if the drought continued.“We found ourselves in a desperate situation and had to find a sustainable solution that would take us off the grid, give us flexibility and a source of high-quality water,” says Cliffton Rajgopaul.
The choice fell on a desalination plant provided by ImproChem, based on dissolved air floatation, ultra-filtration and seawater reverse osmosis systems and with a Grundfos BMSX pump as the main pump. The combination of BMSX and the energy recovery unit makes this plant very unique. Without this combination, the energy input would be up to 70 per cent higher. The plant delivers all the water for the whole plant, at the right quality, and has been running trouble-free since installation. “Just last week we increased our capacity and that means a lot more water. We wouldn’t have been able to do that without the backup from Grundfos and our own water source,“ says Cliffton Rajgopaul. “We are constantly aware of the importance of conserving water and how we can help ease the pressure on the supply of drinking water. So, for us, it is a double win to have a stable source of high- quality water for our fish and food production, as well as doing our part in saving potable, municipal water.”
The desalination plant is placed right on the quay, working 24/7 to produce 48 cubic metres of water per hour. A storage tank holds 800 cubic metres and provides the right amount of buffer for the busy factory.
“We were happy to be chosen by ImproChem to be part of this project. Our main objective was to deliver a reliable solution that would ensure there would be no disruption in business to Sea Harvest due to water shortages, keeping the company sustainable and profitable, and protecting jobs. The plant funds itself as it delivers potable water to the factory, reducing the reliance on municipal water,” said Grant Cannon, Sales Engineer from Grundfos, South Africa.