The U.S. Department of Energy is putting $100 million behind an effort to spark early-stage research and development into ways to desalinate water in cheaper and energy-efficient ways.
Separating salt from seawater is a vexing problem at a time when 844 million people lack access to clean drinking water, according to Water.org. The quest for potable water has driven serious scientific inquiry (computing pioneer Alan Turing’s work is being used to purify water) and Hollywood narratives alike for decades.
The Energy Department is channeling money to this industrial challenge because energy is needed to extract, treat and deliver water. And water is used to produce energy and generate electricity, to irrigate crops and cool thermoelectric power plants. But purifying, or desalinating, water for these tasks requires lots of energy and becomes harder as the levels of salt increase.
The DOE wants to find low-cost alternatives to treat nontraditional water sources such as seawater, brackish…Read the full story from the Washington Business Journal.