The world is steadily moving towards renewable energy as its primary source of power. Recently, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) took a striding step towards this direction when it announced the launch of a $9 million nationwide competition dubbed Solar Desalination Prize, under the American-Made Challenges series.
Reportedly, this move would accelerate the development of systems across the country that employ solar-thermal energy to generate clean water from extremely saline water. Expansion in freshwater supplies could massively strengthen the U.S’s water security and economic competitiveness, claim sources.
Moreover, with the usage of solar-thermal desalination to treat nonconventional water sources, the country would be able to provide a new pathway for generating clean water for agricultural, industrial and municipal sectors.
Electricity costs dictate almost half of the expenses in innovative desalination facilities, which face grave difficulty in cleaning very-high-salinity water. Solar-thermal power, whether offering heat or electricity, could lower the expenses of desalinating water from high-salinity sources. Some examples for this are concentrated brine from inland municipal desalination plants and water produced from subsurface gas and oil extraction.
Speaking on the move, Dan Brouillette, U.S. Secretary of Energy, said that the country harnesses the technical vision, talent, and knowledge to develop sophisticated solar-powered systems that could easily convert industrially processed water into usable water. These innovations would not only improve the prospects for solar energy but also aid the government to attain President Trump’s clean water goals.
Over the course of all four phases of the competition, participants would be able to win nearly $2.3 million in cash prizes and vouchers worth almost $200,000 that could in future be redeemed at National Laboratories or any other qualified partner plants.
For the record, the submissions for the initial phase are due on July 1, 2020, and interested applicants can review the official rules of the competition for clearing their doubts on participant and submissions eligibility.