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Hawaii receives $1.9M in federal funding to test solar-thermal desalination on Big Island

2018.06.25     From: pacific


The U.S. Department of Energy will award over $1.9 million in federal funding to the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority to test the viability of solar-thermal desalination on a commercial scale, U.S. Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, said on Wednesday.


The project has the potential to lower the average cost of desalinating water by as much as 40 percent compared to current technologies, according to a statement. It will be located at NELHA’s 870-acre Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park in Kailua-Kona on Hawaii's Big Island.


“This project combines two very important issues: addressing water shortages and mitigating climate change,” Schatz, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said in a statement. “With this funding, we have the chance to develop desalination methods that are sustainable and even profitable. I’m hopeful that this project will lead to more innovation in this space."


Using the process of desalination, seawater, brackish water and contaminated water can be treated for use in municipal and industrial water supplies.


While today's desalination operations need to be grid-connected, solar-thermal desalination does not require any other power source besides the sun.


A successful test could enable smaller, more portable systems while also prove its commercial viability.


The system developed through this project will be installed at an oceanic facility and its results used to scale up to a commercial-sized facility, according to the senator.


Funding for the project comes from the DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, which was threatened by President Donald Trump's proposed budget cuts for fiscal year 2018.


Relevant CSP Conference:CSP Focus Innovation 2018(Oct.25-26, China)

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