In the interview conducted by Diario Financiero, the executive highlighted the pride as a company of contributing to reducing water scarcity in central and northern Chile.
1.- What types of sea and brackish water treatments does it offer? GS Inima Environment in Chile?
GS Inima acts in all phases of the projects, from design, supply, construction, operation and maintenance, and in those that the client so requires, financing the projects in concession modality in very advantageous conditions due to the access to Korean financing that our shareholder GS E&C supplies us. The worldwide widespread technology for desalination today, and of which we are one of the world leaders, for having installed more than 1,5 million m3/day, is Reverse Osmosis (RO).
2.- What advantages does this desalination technology provide, compared to others?
The main advantage of RO is the lower cost of drinking water production.
In fact, this technology has been imposed worldwide, reaching the production cost below 1 USD/m3, a value that incorporates the cost of investment, O&M and energy.
3.- In this context, what would you highlight about the reverse osmosis solution that provides the company?
OI is a well-known and mature technology in the market, although there are aspects that can differentiate the processes of some companies from others. In GS Inima We are characterized by making designs that guarantee the availability and quality of water, minimizing the energy consumption of the projects. The above is very important; To understand what energy consumption entails in desalination, about 1/3 of the cost of a glass of desalinated water is electrical energy. Hence, our R&D&I efforts are aimed at reducing the electrical energy consumed and therefore reducing costs for our clients.
This translates into facts, as is the case of the Atacama plant that GS Inima has built in Caldera and whose reliability test we carried out in March 2021. In this plant, we guaranteed a record energy consumption of 2,8 kWh/m3 during the tender. Said consumption was comfortably met, obtaining a value of 2,6 kWh/m3 throughout the reliability test, which continues to be maintained for the six months of operation that we have been producing water for the population.
What other projects and/or reverse osmosis plants do you have in operation? GS Inima in Chile, in what places and for what type of clients?
Our clients are public and private, and the desalination plants are located in areas where there is water scarcity. In Chile, the desalination plants built by GS Inima They have been located in the I, II and III regions of the country: Arica, awarded in 1997, is a brackish water plant with a capacity of 18.000 m3/day. We financed, designed, built and operated it for 14 years, and when the concession ended it was transferred to Aguas del Altiplano (formerly ESSAT), who today operates the facility.
La Chimba (Antofagasta), a 52.000 m3/day seawater plant, was also financed, designed, built, commissioned in 2003 and operated by GS Inima until 2009, the year in which it was transferred to Aguas de Antofagasta (formerly ESSAN).
In 2015, GS Inima The EPC project for the Radomiro Tomic plant in Tocopilla was awarded to Codelco, with a capacity of 72.600 m3/day, exclusively for detailed engineering.
We currently operate the aforementioned Atacama plant for ECONSSA. We began construction in 2018, entering into operation satisfactorily on April 1. It has a capacity of 38.880 m3/day, but with the infrastructure ready to produce 103.680 m3/day, which makes it the largest desalination plant for human consumption in the country.
We are the company that has designed, built and operated the most RO desalination plants in Chile. What's more, the oldest plants still produce water continuously, after more than 20 years from their start-up, which is a guarantee of reliability of the projects in which we work.
Atacama Desalination Plant, which GS Inima has built in Caldera and whose reliability test was carried out in March 2021.
4.- Finally, how would you define the contribution you are making? GS Inima in Chile, with its seawater and brackish water treatment technologies, in a context of growing water scarcity?
En GS Inima We are proud to be able to contribute our grain of sand to reduce as far as possible the scarcity of water in the center and north of the country, for almost 25 years. And we will continue to do so, participating in those new projects that are developed in the field of desalination.
Likewise, there are other technologies that GS Inima provides such as reuse, which allow the use of wastewater for industrial and agricultural uses, which should be taken into account and complement desalination. Last but not least, it is essential to point out that water is a scarce commodity and that, in addition to promoting desalination and reuse technologies, policies should be implemented aimed at the optimization and rational use of water. Only in this way will it be possible to alleviate the water scarcity that hits Chile so hard.