GE and Aramco launch desalination energy challenge

GE ecomagination and Aramco Entrepreneurship launched a worldwide open technology challenge on 15 April 2014 to speed up efforts to improve the energy-efficiency of seawater desalination.

Four winners will be awarded a prize of US$ 50,000 each, and further investments towards commercialization of the best ideas will be considered.

The last major effort in this direction was the Affordable Desalination Collaboration in California, which demonstrated in 2009 total energy consumption for seawater desalination at 11.28 kWh/kgal (2.98 kWh/m³) at a projected total cost of US$ 3.00/kgal (US$ 0.79/m³).

The goal of this challenge is to identify novel ways to lower these costs around the world, either through technology advances, process improvements or both. 

Nabil Al-Khowaiter, Aramco Entrepreneurship’s director of special projects, stated “Finding a more efficient method of desalinating seawater will be a game-changer in our collective pursuit of a more sustainable energy future across the globe. Aramco Entrepreneurship is partnering with GE not only to identify new solutions to lowering desalination costs, but also to invest in and attract new technologies and industries to Saudi Arabia.”

Solutions must be innovative, impactful, feasible and scalable across the globe. Entries are being immediately accepted at The deadline is 16 July 2014, and winners will be announced in November 2014.