Saltworks Technologies reported that they can produce 1 cubic meter of fresh water using just 1kWh compared to 3.7kWh per cubic meter achievable using reverse osmosis.
The minimum energy barrier is often characterized as 0.75 kWh of energy to produce 1,000 litres of fresh water from seawater.
Reverse Osmosis (RO)
Electrodialysis (ED) and Electrodionization (EDI) involve forcing ions from saltwater through ion exchange membranes under an electrical field.
Multi Stage Flash (MSF) involves introducing heated saltwater into a lower pressure container.
Multiple Effect Distillation (MED) consists of several consecutive cells (effects) at decreasing pressure and temperature.
Vapour Compression (VC) is another thermal process that uses the same principles of reduced boiling points with lower pressure.
Chemical Processes - This category includes processes such liquid-liquid extraction, gas hydrate, and other precipitation schemes. While not commercially widespread, these technologies are used in speciality applications such as specific feed water contamination.
Next Generation Water Companies
The reverse osmosis process, which separates out salt with a membrane, costs about 50 cents per cubic meter of water. Reverse osmosis systems also have to be monitored so that the membrane doesn’t get fouled or clogged
Clathrate Desalination (Mouchel and Water Science)
A start-up from Vancouver, Canada called Saltworks Technologies has a new desalination process called “thermo-ionic desalination.”
NanoH2O’s membranes can expect up to a 20 percent reduction in energy consumption, or a 70 percent increase in water production, or a 40 percent smaller plant footprint.
The goal now is to scale-up manufacturing. The firm has 26,000 square feet of manufacturing infrastructure in the Los Angles area and looks to come to market with a commercial product in mid-2010.
Veolia Water Solutions &Technologies (one of the biggest players in the desal business) has entered a five-year partnership with California’s NanoH2O to jointly explore opportunities for a new, higher flux SWRO membrane product