Bureau of Reclamation Announces Funding to Improve Desalination Technologies

Bureau of Reclamation Announces Funding to Improve Desalination Technologies

An overview of a desalination plant in Santa Barbara, California, with a sludge holding tank and clarifier in the foreground.

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The Bureau of Reclamation is awarding $3.6 million to 10 projects for advanced water treatment research and development. The Desalination and Water Purification Research Program funding seeks to improve technologies for water supply development from nontraditional waters, including seawater, brackish groundwater and municipal wastewater.

"Interest in desalination as a water source is growing in the United States," says Chief Engineer David Raff. "Improving technologies to treat water will make the advanced treatment of water more affordable for communities throughout the country and increase water supplies for the nation."

The Desalination and Water Purification Research Program supports President Joe Biden's new Executive Order on Tackling the Climate Crisis at Home and Abroad as it aims to help increase resilience to the impacts of climate change.

Reclamation selected six laboratory projects and four pilot-scale research projects. The $3.6 million will be matched by $5.3 million in non-federal funding to support the research projects. The selected projects are:

Pilot-scale projects

  • Carollo Engineers, Inc. (Arizona) - $403,002
  • Sephton Water Technology, Inc. (California) - $139,968
  • Gradiant Osmotics LLC (Massachusetts) - $800,000
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Massachusetts) - $799,989

Laboratory projects

  • Yale University (Connecticut) - $250,000
  • New Mexico Institute of Technology and Mining (New Mexico) - $249,969
  • University of Cincinnati (Ohio) - $249,630
  • SolMem, LLC (Texas) - $241,506
  • University of Houston (Texas) - $249,466
  • William Marsh Rice University (Texas) - $250,000

A laboratory-scale study involves small flow rates. They are used to determine the viability of a novel process, new materials or process modifications. A pilot-scale project tests a novel process to determine the technical, practical and economic viability of the process and are generally preceded by laboratory studies that demonstrate if that the technology works.

To learn more about Reclamation's Desalination and Water Purification Research Program and see complete descriptions of the research projects, visit www.usbr.gov/research/dwpr.


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