Photo credit: Phys.Org.
As parts of the state become drier, scientists are looking at ways to turn seawater into drinkable water.
New desalination technology could answer state drought woes
Desalination has made headlines in recent months as a possible solution to the state’s water shortage. But in addition to being expensive, its byproduct—salty brine—can harm marine life once it’s reintroduced into the ocean.
A team of researchers from Humboldt State University and the University of Southern California is hoping to address those concerns with a new process called Reverse Osmosis-Pressure Retarded Osmosis (RO-PRO).
They recently received a $600,000 grant from the California Department of Water Resources to develop a portable, prototype RO-PRO system in Samoa, Calif.—which could lower the cost of desalination and reduce its impact on the environment.
“The high cost and environmental impact of desalination are major issues preventing it from becoming a reliable, drought-resistant water supply,” said Andrea Achilli, an Environmental Resources Engineering professor at Humboldt State, who holds a patent on the technology with researchers from the University of Southern California and Colorado School of Mines. “What our system does is address those problems head on.”
Desalination plants typically use reverse osmosis, a process that pushes saltwater through a membrane to create purified, drinking water. But in addition to being costly, and energy-intensive, reverse osmosis can negatively impact the environment.
Read the full article: Phys.-Org.