It could offer some relief to the West’s long-running water wars.
The giant solar receiver installed on a wheat field here in California’s agricultural heartland slowly rotates to track the sun and capture its energy. The 377-foot array, however, does not generate electricity but instead creates heat used to desalinate water.
It is part of a project developed by a San Francisco area start-up called WaterFX that is tapping an abundant, if contaminated, resource in this parched region: the billions of gallons of water that lie just below the surface.
Financed by the Panoche Water District with state funds, the $1 million solar thermal desalinization plant is removing impurities from drainage water at half the cost of traditional desalinization, according to Aaron Mandell, a founder of WaterFX.
If the technology proves commercially viable — a larger plant is to be built this year — it could offer some relief to the West’s long-running water wars.
WaterFX faces a daunting and urgent task. The water is tainted with toxic levels of salt, selenium and other heavy metals that wash down from the nearby Panoche foothills, and is so polluted that it must be constantly drained to keep it from poisoning crops.
And with California facing a record-breaking drought, the spigot has gone dry for farmers that depend on long-term contracts with the federal government’s Central Valley Project to deliver cheap water from the north. Irrigation costs are expected to double or triple as growers are forced to buy water on the spot market.
“Food prices are going to go up, absolutely,” said Dennis Falaschi, manager of the Panoche Water District, as he drove his pickup truck past bone-dry fields of almond trees and grapevines on an unseasonably warm day recently.
WaterFX’s project exploits two things the Central Valley possesses in abundance — fallow land and sunshine — to cut desalinization costs.
The Latest on: Solar thermal desalinization
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The Latest on: Solar thermal desalinization
- Insights on the Concentrated Solar Power Global Market to 2025 - Impact of COVID-19on November 27, 2020 at 12:28 am
MUSTEC (Market uptake of solar thermal electricity through cooperation ... The company is focused primarily on CSP, salt water desalination, and waste to energy technologies.
- The problem with Mumbai drinking its seaon November 26, 2020 at 7:34 pm
“The electricity will come from coal-fired thermal plants, so that is a lot of added ... Israel, which has long used desalination, has switched to solar energy in many of its plants and is also ...
- Mumbai: Desalination to ease water stress, raise green concernson November 24, 2020 at 6:57 pm
The state government has green-lighted a desalination plant at Manori to meet the city's current water supply shortfall and future needs.
- Dubai ruler Mohammed bin Rashid inaugurates 3rd phase of Solar Parkon November 24, 2020 at 6:51 am
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, has inaugurated Dubai Electricity and Water Authority’s, DEWA’s, Innovation Centre and the 800MW ...
- System can sterilize medical tools using solar heaton November 18, 2020 at 8:01 am
Light as it is, the material provides effective thermal insulation, reducing the rate of heat loss by tenfold. This transparent insulating material is bonded onto the top of what is essentially ...
- Purdue-Led Team Advances in DOE Conteston November 17, 2020 at 2:42 pm
... contest in the U.S. Department of Energy’s $9 million Solar Desalination Prize. Purdue says the contest is designed to "accelerate the development of systems that use solar-thermal energy to ...
- Study: Purdue-led team named quarterfinalist in DOE solar innovation contest (TDnews)on November 17, 2020 at 2:56 am
David Warsinger, a Purdue University innovator, and his team are among the quarterfinalists in a national solar desalination innovation contest. Pictured are Warsinger and members of his research ...
- Purdue-led team named quarterfinalist in DOE solar innovation conteston November 16, 2020 at 9:17 pm
the Solar Desalination Prize is designed to accelerate the development of systems that use solar-thermal energy to produce clean water from salt water for municipal, agricultural and industrial use.
- Purdue-led team named quarterfinalist in DOE solar innovation conteston November 15, 2020 at 4:00 pm
Part of DOE’s American-Made Challenges, the Solar Desalination Prize is designed to accelerate the development of systems that use solar-thermal energy to produce clean water from salt water for ...
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