5th Fleet Area of Operations — The Wasp-class amphibious assault ship USS Bataan (LHD 5) is a mighty warship: it can support amphibious operations both on sea and land, flight operations, well deck operations, and can also provide fast response to humanitarian disasters. Bataan can also produce 70 gallons of fresh water every minute for approximately 4,000 Sailors and Marines onboard by using a desalination process called multi stage flash distillation system.
This fresh water can be used for drinking, cooking, showering and laundry, and also for industrial purposes, such as boiler feed water and cooling water, helping to keep Bataan’s engines cool and running efficiently. However, with the current seawater temperatures, Bataan’s multi stage flash distillation system is working overtime to produce fresh water, producing less water than is being used, resulting in a deficit for Bataan’s engines and crew.
Bataan’s desalination system can produce up to two million gallons of fresh water per day. The sea water that is suctioned into the ship is pushed up through the evaporator and gets into what is called a feed heater. The feed heater takes steam used from the boiler which creates immense temperatures in the space to heat the water to begin the process of flashing. Through a series of six stages, the water pressure that is brought into the vacuum is decreased to generate vapor that is condensed by the incoming seawater creating a pressure temperature relationship. The water will then create turbulence to be flashed into steam more efficiently and undergoes a mineralizer to remove any impurities in that water to become potable water or feed water.
Multi stage flash distillation is a type of desalination used by amphibious ships because it conserves energy and produces high-quality fresh water. However, one of the forward pit supervisors stated that with the current high temperature seawater that Bataan is converting to fresh water, those temperatures can strain the desalination system.
“We’re coming in with water injections of 105 degrees and our evaporation’s maximum efficiency is at 85 degrees of seawater. Therefore, we are already 20 degrees above temperatures, which results in red readings,” said Forward Pit Supervisor Machinist’s Mate 2nd Class Adam Huggins. “These temperatures are too high and are running a bit out of the parameters to make water. Currently, we are not at 100 percent efficiency but about 75-80 percent on a good day.”
The system is an efficient way to make water to hydrate and power Bataan and its crew; however, Sailors and Marines on board must do their due diligence to ensure we are not to waste water.
“It is important to save water because after doing the calculations, we concluded that each person is using 90 gallons of water when the normal usage is 36,” said Huggins. “Previously, we had 15,000 gallons of water being used in the time span of one hour, and right now we just used 5,000 gallons in the last hour for basic common uses such as cooking and showering. Since then we’ve only made 3,400 gallons. So that is 1,600 gallons unaccounted for.”
Sailors and Marines play an important part in ensuring that there is fresh water for Bataan crew members and the ship’s engines. Some tips for conserving water include turning off the sink and shower when not in use, and doing laundry when your bag is half-full. Doing these simple tasks could save five gallons per person; and with 4,000 people on board, saving each drop can make a big difference in conserving fresh water for Bataan and the crew.
|U.S. 5TH FLEET AREA OF RESPONSIBILITY
This work, USS Bataan Uses Desalination System: Salt to Fresh, by PO3 Alisha Gleason, identified by DVIDS, must comply with the restrictions shown on https://www.dvidshub.net/about/copyright.
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