The Solar Desalination Prize is a competition designed to accelerate the development of systems that use low-cost solar-thermal energy to produce clean water from very-high-salinity water, like water produced from oil and gas extraction. The clean water produced can be used in municipal, agricultural, and industrial applications.
According to Environment Protection Agency, the oil and gas industry produces several hundred billion gallons of wastewater annually. This water can have a salt content that is too high for commercially available desalination technologies. Solar thermal desalination can the solution to treating this water, even in remote locations.
The technologies used in solar desalination can also be used in industrial applications like food processing, chemical production, and mineral processing. Solar desalination systems and many industrial applications like food processing do not require high temperatures, so they utilize lower-cost components than other electricity-producing applications.
The Prize Structure
The prize is structured in four phases. Each successive phase is more challenging than the last, with larger prizes and fewer competitors advancing. The challenge requires competitors to make progress on a condensed timeline, form private-sector partnerships, and secure investments to make their ideas a reality.
By the end of the competition, the teams will have designed their solar-thermal desalination system, obtained the necessary permitting and approval documents, built it, and then demonstrated the operation of their system. The Department of Energy will determine the winner and award a final prize of $1 million in cash.
Entrepreneurs, technologists, hardware developers, engineers, solar experts, and investors are all encouraged to join the challenge, be part of the American-Made Network and create ground-breaking solutions that will accelerate solar desalination technologies.
Please review the official rules for the application process and instructions for competing.
Congratulations to the eight teams selected as semi-finalists in the Teaming Contest of the Solar Desalination Prize Round 1:
Connecticut Center for Applied Separations Technology
Katz Water Technologies
The HIT Team
The semifinalists will receive $250,000 in cash and $100,000 in support vouchers and advance to the Design Contest of the competition, where they will complete a detailed, ready-to-build design of their solar-thermal desalination facility prototype for a chance to win $750,000 in cash and $100,000 in vouchers.