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DOE announces $100M energy-water desalination hub to provide secure and affordable water

The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award $100 million to establish an Energy-Water Desalination Hub (Hub) to address water security issues in the United States. (DE-FOA-0001905)

The Hub will focus on early-stage research and development (R&D) for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies including manufacturing challenges, and for treating non-traditional water sources for multiple end-use applications.

Technological achievements generated through the Hub will help us achieve several strategic goals established through the Water Security Grand Challenge announced earlier this year. By focusing R&D efforts on advancing transformational technologies that promote cost-effective desalination, we are working towards meeting the national and global need for secure, affordable water.

—US Secretary of Energy Rick Perry

In March, Secretary Perry hosted a roundtable discussion at the White House to explore the use of prize competitions to drive technological innovation in critical water issues. DOE is working with interagency partners to develop prizes and associated R&D that will catalyze innovation at the nexus of energy and water.

Energy and water systems are interconnected. Energy is required to extract, treat, and deliver water. On the other hand, water is used in multiple phases of energy production and electricity generation, from irrigating crops for biofuels to providing cooling water for thermoelectric power plants. Purifying water for these processes can be energy intensive and becomes more difficult as levels of saline increase.

The Hub will focus on desalination R&D to provide low-cost alternatives that treat “non-traditional” water sources such as seawater, brackish water, and produced waters, for use in municipal and industrial water supplies, or to serve other water resource needs. Successful research can then reduce demand on stressed freshwater supplies. Globally, fresh water scarcity is a major humanitarian and economic challenge that impacts all sectors of society.

The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office will lead the Energy-Water Desalination Hub. DOE will fund one new five-year award, subject to appropriations. The Hub team will work to achieve the goals of four technical topic areas: (1) materials research and development; (2) new processes research and development; (3) modeling and simulation tools; and (4) integrated data and analysis.

Comments

Arnold

Desalination and water purification is traditionally a power hungry process that should be considered for absorbing grid surpluses expected with increasing renewable energy inputs.

SJC

They can use solar thermal to generate power and desalinate.

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