Andrew Lowenstein

100 m3/day scale of demonstration

The guidelines for the competition state "competitors will build their prototype system with a production capacity of at least 100 cubic meters (m3) of fresh water per day". However, for our technology, 100 m3/day of fresh water production would be about three time larger than the capacity needed for our target application (which is concentrating the brine from an inland, brackish water RO/EDR facility that serves farms in the several hundred acre size range). Reviewing the brief descriptions of the technologies proposed by the other 18 companies that have made it into Round 2, I suspect that several are facing the same problem, i.e., their entry level system has a capacity that is less than 100 m3/day. Is it possible that the guidelines can be modified so that the prototype system to be built and tested has a capacity that is the lesser of 100 m3/day or the capacity identified for a commercially viable product?
3 Replies

NREL Challenge
The competitors are expected to build a prototype system with a production capacity of at least 100 cubic meters (m3) of fresh water per day. During the TEST contest, the Teams will be expected to demonstrate a peak rate of production consisted with 100 m3/day. If integration with thermal energy storage, to enable sufficient hours of operation to achieve 100 m3/day, is necessary, teams will be expected to demonstrate the operation of their system with TES. If the Teams believe that the 100 m3/day production rate is beyond what their specific technology is intended to support at full scale commercial production, the Team is allowed to propose a smaller prototype as part of their TEAMING and DESIGN contest entries. Those proposed systems will be evaluated towards their ability to meet the goals of technology impact as described in the Prize Rules.

Howard Yuh
Based on this response of a peak rate demo at 100m3/day, would it be correct to assume that TES operations would also be a peak rate demo? Building enough TES to treat 50m3 would be highly challenging.

NREL Challenge
The TES does not actually need to store enough energy to produce 100 m3 desalinated in one day. Instead, the teams may demonstrate that the TES could charge and discharge at a rate that would support the production of desalinated water at its target production rate for the prototype unit under an assumed operating profile specific to the application.
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