Canadian low-energy desalination gets government boost

Saltworks Techologies Inc’s low-energy desalination project is to receive up to Can$ 580,000 (US$ 577,000) from the Canadian government via Sustainable Development Technology Canada (SDTC).

Unveiled last year and demonstrated at the International Desalination Association’s world congress in Dubai in November, the Vancouver-based start-up company’s Thermo-Ionic desalination system is described by SDTC’s president and CEO, Vicky Sharpe, as “a sustainable and inexpensive solution”.

The low-energy desalination demonstration project involves building and testing a commercial-scale 1,000 L/d pilot plant for seawater and brackish industrial water treatment. This system is powered by an inexpensive low-temperature thermal-energy conversion system that can use solar energy or process heat to reduce electricity consumption.

The system is expected to operate without chemicals, while avoiding the harmful salt loading that is often associated with other desalination approaches. The process also has the capability to input waste saltwater brine and treat it to produce freshwater and solid salt with low energy consumption.

Other project partners include BC Hydro’s Powertech Labs Inc and the BC Innovative Clean Energy Fund.