The Exchange
7:37 am
Wed March 19, 2014

Cost breakthrough for water desalination

Heating salty water in this solar thermal array creates steam that sheds impurities and yield newly distilled clean water.
Heating salty water in this solar thermal array creates steam that sheds impurities and yield newly distilled clean water.
Credit Water FX

  In California’s Central Valley, a small water district is pioneering the use of solar energy to power water desalination through distillation. An extensive article on the pilot project in yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle reported that this approach cuts the power requirements for desalination by as much as three-fourths, which is a breakthrough in cost-effectiveness. We learn more in this conversation with the article’s author.