Solar desalination plant to serve California’s Central Valley

Solar desalinatetion specialist, HydroRevolution, is raising funding to construct a solar-powered multi-effect distillation desalination plant in the Panoche Water and Drainage District in the Central Valley.

The plant will serve local water districts in the region, and will be the first of its kind in the area the company claimed. It would be an extension of a demonstration plant built by HydroRevolution, parent company, WaterFX, in the district in 2013. Chairman, Aaron Mandell, said it showed “we can reliably treat drainage water, and also showed that the treated water is not a waste product; it is a valuable source of freshwater.”

The facility will be built on a 35-acre site with the potential to expand to a 70-acre site, rthe company reported. The land will grow salt-tolerant crops.

“Given the trend of highly uncertain inputs from the delta, we need to develop a reliable supply of water in the Central Valley,” said Panoche Water and Drainage district manager Dennis Falaschi. “This is a sustainable solution that can provide a substantial amount of water. There is an enormous resource of subsurface water than can be utilized,” he added.

HydroRevolution claimed its system can generate up to 6,100 Ml water a year. The system deploys solar thermal energy collected in large solar arrays to drive a multi-effect distillation system. HydroRevolution said more than 90% of the freshwater is recovered in this process, while zero liquid discharge treatment of the reject brine could produce “minerals and salts as usable solid coproducts.”

The company said it was preparing a community-based fundraising campaign for the construction of the “first commercial solar desalination plant to be built in California’s Central Valley.”