Nine desalination research projects share US$ 1.1 million

Seven laboratory-scale desalination research projects and two pilot projects are to share US federal funding worth more than US$ 1.1 million.

The funding is through the Bureau of Reclamation’s Desalination & Water Purification Research Program, through which the government works in partnership with other entities to develop more cost-effective and efficient ways to desalinate water.

The laboratory-scale projects selected for funding this year are:

Membrane Structural and Transport Fundamentals for Augmenting Traditional Water Supplies; Pennsylvania State University, US$ 95,467
This project will look at developing detailed metrics to learn how current membranes could be improved for inland water treatment challenges. The purpose is to demonstrate the feasibility of low-energy membranes for inland water treatment applications and augmenting usable water supplies for inland states.

Evaluation of a Small Rural Community Zero Liquid Discharge Desalination System; Trussell Technologies Inc, US$ 149,446
Trussell Technologies of Pasadena, California (CA), will perform a process evaluation study on a unique zero-liquid-discharge (ZLD) desalination system specifically being used for a small rural community. This research will aid in development of ZLD water treatment systems for small rural communities at a reasonable cost and with a realistic operation strategy.

Energy-efficient and Sustainable, Microbial Electrolysis-Deionization System for Salt and Organics Removal; University of Tennessee, US$ 150,000
The University of Tennessee will investigate the capability of combining microbes and electrolysis to treat wastewater and produced water to augment water resources and water reuse for various uses. This combination of treatments can provide a sustainable treatment option while recovering energy and nutrients.

Barometric Evaporator Desalination Project; Sephton Water Technology, US$ 29,836
Sephton Water Technology Inc of Kensington, CA, will test a prototype barometric evaporator at the existing pilot facility in Imperial County, CA, which is currently testing the vertical tube evaporator technology. The goal of this project is to test the barometric evaporator prototype and apply the technology to provide steam generation for a vertical tube evaporator to treat water at the Salton Sea.

Autonomous Low Energy Consumption Cyclic Desalination Systems; University of California Los Angeles, US$ 150,000
University of California – Los Angeles has proposed a new technology concept of cyclic reverse osmosis in order to obtain a smaller and mobile unit to treat impaired and underutilized water sources. It is expected that the operational and configuration flexibilities of this technology will enable a wide variety of water sources over a wider range of salinities while using optimal energy.

Operation of Commercial Sized Solar Desalination Still; Suns River, US$ 45,022
Suns River, located in Many, Louisiana, will continue its research and work on a solar desalination still that has been tested at a small scale at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Facility last year. A larger-scale solar still will be constructed to help further research already conducted and identify the feasibility of the still to treat brackish groundwater in small rural areas.

Evaluation and Development of a New Type of Polymer-based Water Desalination Membrane; University of Colorado, US$ 134,544
The University of Colorado will investigate two aspects of a new thin-film-composite lyotropic liquid-crystal-polymer membrane system; scaling up the preparation of the new membrane material and design more economical and easily synthesized monomers. This new membrane is focused to work as a nanofiltration and reverse-osmosis type polyamide membrane.

The pilot scale projects selected for funding are:

City of Corpus Christi Desalination Pilot Study; City of Corpus Christi, Texas, US$ 200,000
Corpus Christi has been dealing with drastic drought conditions over the last decade and this pilot project will aid in exploring a variety of options to optimize the pretreatment process. The results will form the basis of design for a full-scale facility including operating parameters, cost information and product water quality to assess feasibility of a seawater and/or brackish groundwater supply.

Reverse Osmosis Concentrate Management through Halophyte Farming; University of Arizona, US$ 148,053
This project will continue building on some previous research done in the area of concentrate management via halophyte farming and using this salt-resistant crop to manage concentrate produced from water desalination. The pilot project would be conducted at the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Facility in Alamogordo, New Mexico, and will enable the construction of the agricultural research testing area at the facility.