Texas state funding wind-powered desalination pilots

The Texas Department of Rural Affairs (TDRA) is offering US$ 1.5 million to smaller local governments in the US state for brackish-water desalination demonstration projects using wind energy. Deadline for applications for the 2010 Desalination Fund is 29 January 2010.

Eligible applicants are incorporated Texas cities with populations of less than 50,000 and counties with populations of less than 200,000.

Projects eligible for funding under this grant program are limited to those that utilize wind turbines to help provide electricity for desalination of brackish groundwater. The desalinated groundwater should help meet the drinking water needs of a rural community.

Electricity generated from the wind turbine or turbines must be used to help power a reverse-osmosis (RO) facility (or other technologies that will desalinate brackish groundwater) or be used to help power pumping of brackish groundwater to be treated.

Eligible projects must demonstrate the ability to be scaled-up with more or bigger wind turbines and/or larger or expanded RO facilities with the goal of eventually providing the majority of a community’s drinking water needs. Applications should also demonstrate the need for a community to desalinate brackish groundwater and the absence of other long-term viable drinking water sources.

The TDRA provides an example of the type of projects to be funded, which is currently under way in Seminole, Texas. The Seminole pilot project calls for a 50 kW wind turbine to help power an RO unit that will initially desalinate 30,000 gallons per day (113,500 L/d) of brackish groundwater from the Santa Rosa (Dockum) Aquifer. The drilled well depth is estimated at about 1,800 ft (550 m).

The Seminole pilot project will cost US$ 1.6 million, including US$ 500,000 from TDRA, US$ 300,000 from Texas Water Development Board, US$ 400,000 from City of Seminole and US$ 200,000 from Texas Tech.

An application guide and form can be found on the TDRA website