Established in 1995, Bernardinello Engineering now sets the benchmark in the fields of water treatment and in process engineering both in Italy and abroad. Active Bernardinello Engineering plants are currently at the service of multinational corporations in all continents.

Seawater Reverse Osmosis - Abu Dhabi, GHC1


In the first months of 2014, the company completed an important turnkey contract in Abu Dhabi which consisted in developing a double desalination system for the supply of industrial-use water in a steel plant owned by the Emirates Steel Industries. The plant produces 4.5 million tons of steel for the construction industry, a volume that can meet the demand of the Emirates for the next ten years.
The two Bernardinello Engineering water treatment plants are worth a total of around 20 million euro, are operational 24h a day, and have a daily productive capacity of over 1300 mc/h of osmotic water, with a seawater intake of 3500 mc/h.

Seawater Reverse Osmosis - Abu Dhabi, GHC2


The initial challenge: dealing with extreme climatic and environmental characteristics

The inherent characteristics of the Gulf Region constitute a real challenge for the construction of a water treatment plant. The high water temperatures reached during the summer season (around 36°C) and the critical conductivity (TDS ~50,000 mg/l) both required dedicated solutions, the reverse osmosis units in particular. Dedicated solutions were also developed and implemented for the pre-treatment and ultra-filtration phases. These phases require both ordinary and extraordinary operating procedures, all of which are fully automatic, in order to cope with peak production periods and seasonal factors (i.e. the proliferation of red algae in seawater) which could otherwise affect production.

The treatment process has an intake of about 1500 m3/h of seawater (per facility) which, after going through various steps, produces three different outputs. The first stream is composed of 600 m3/h of make up water (with an average conductivity ~10 µS/cm) produced by the osmosis seawater and brackish lines. The second stream, which is subsequently treated by the ion exchange section with a polishing function, consists of 90 m3/h of de-mineralized water (with an average conductivity of ≤ 1 µS/cm). The third output consists of 30 m3/h of re-mineralized water to make it potable and usable for the plant's facilities.

A water treatment chain of excellence

Drastically reducing the levels of salinity in water requires a very complex process, which entails several phases and multiple treatment steps. The Abu Dhabi plant consists of a pre-treatment section with 6 flotators in which the turbidity of the incoming seawater is checked. Doses of biocides and coagulants/flocculants are applied at this stage.
The subsequent section is composed of 8 ultra-filtration lines with 86 modules each. The lines are arranged in parallel with automatic sequences, per cycle, of backwashing and flushing with both acid and basic chemicals.
The third and fourth sections are composed respectively of 7 lines of osmosis seawater (each in 2 stages) and 6 lines of osmosis brackish. The first step of osmosis is characterized by pressurized process conditions (up to 80 bar of pressure are reached), while the second step (in three stages) is carried out at pressures slightly lower than 20 bar.
The final part of the plant consists in a mixed bed demineralization section and in a potabilization section. The pairs of filters operate in alternating work cycles (for 36 h) and regeneration periods (for 6 h).


Seawater Reverse Osmosis - schema di impianto


Angelo Bernardinello – President of Bernardinello Engineering SpA

«The Abu Dhabi plants are in many ways cutting-edge projects. Primarily because of the high level of technology they employ; this means that the treatment process can be controlled with an integrated system and that critical conditions can be addressed in an optimal way.
The plants were completely pre-assembled and tested in our facilities in Italy and consequently shipped by sea (with around 200 containers) to the United Arab Emirates. Upon arrival they were re-assembled, commissioned and constantly monitored by our team. The entire project was carried out by 20 people (including technicians and Italian as well as local workers) who have been involved in it since 2006 up until the latest upgrade in 2014. Today, thanks to the integration of multiple technologies and the high level of reliability they offer, both these projects represent examples of excellence in the market».