ENGIE Solutions x Land forces - France

Land forces: how can an autonomous supply of drinking water be guaranteed during missions?

Ensuring the availability of drinking water in the field is a strategic challenge for the French Army. The mobile water treatment system (STEM: station de traitement des eaux mobile) designed by ENGIE Solutions with Suez under a contract with the DGA (French Directorate General of Armaments) produces drinking water from water available on the spot. Here are some explanations.

A system that can adapt to all types of water
It took three years to develop the mobile water treatment system, thanks to the joint efforts of industrial teams and Ministry of Armed Forces teams (DGA, Land forces, SIMMT), including the Armed Forces Health Service (SSA) and veterinary services. The system can treat all types of water: brackish water or seawater, uncertified water resources and water that potentially contains sources of uncontrolled pollution. The main advantage of the system is that it is very compact and can be deployed in sensitive locations. It uses innovative water treatment and testing processes that guarantee very high quality.

Innovative processes that meet field operation needs
First of all, water is captured from a river and stored in a 20,000 litre tank, into which the treatment machine’s raw water pump is placed. The water then goes through four phases to make it fit for human consumption. First, it is pumped and sent through the pre-filters, which remove the densest suspended solids. Then it passes through ultrafiltration membranes, to eliminate almost all bacteria. During the 3rd phase, a reverse osmosis system enables the removal of viruses and unwanted particles from the water. During the 4th and final phase, the purified water passes through cartridges containing mineral salts that are required by the human body.
The whole production cycle is controlled using an operating console that enables the management of water treatment and quality.

A marked increase in water treatment capacity
The STEM system produces 6m3 of clean drinking water per hour on average, which is four times more than its predecessor, the mobile water treatment unit (UMTE). If seawater is being used, its capacity will decrease to 3m3 per hour. During operation, a larger number of tanks can be used, which enables the raw water storage capacity to be increased. Currently used in the Tarn region, the system produces 20,000 litres of water to meet the daily drinking water needs of 250 people. This innovation enables drinking water to be produced and distributed, completely safely and autonomously, using natural water sources. Its capacity can be increased to meet the daily drinking water needs of up to 800 people.

Key figures

3-10m3 of drinking water treated per hour
16 units produced by ENGIE Solutions in Valbonne
3 years to develop the solution
800 people supplied with drinking water per day

Expertise and offers

Innovation in drinking water treatment
STEM reverse osmosis system to ensure complete water purification