Increasing water scarcity is driving innovations in water production technologies, according to analysis by Frost & Sullivan that finds accelerated movement towards wastewater reuse and advanced water recycling technologies.
Innovations in Water Production and Its Impact on Key Sectors finds that advancements in technologies, chemicals and processes are addressing the three most difficult challenges in water production. These are:
- the removal of nitrogen, sulphur and phosphorus compounds in open body water sources
- sustainable desalination
- the removal of emerging chemical compounds from drinking water
The report says the water production space as a whole is shifting toward renewable energy-based solutions to resolve the issue of water-energy shortage. It says there will be an increase in the uptake of membrane filtration and anaerobic-aerobic technologies, including portable and/or solar-based water filtration systems.
It also (unintentionally) coincides with a desalination wastewater project announced earlier this week that the companies partnering on the project — global water and waste giant Veolia and Texas-based Enviro Water Minerals (EWM) — say is the first of its kind globally.
Wastewater to Freshwater
EWM recently broke ground on the water production and chemical manufacturing facility located next to the El Paso’s Kay Bailey Hutchison (KBH) Desalination Plant, the world’s largest inland desalination plant.
Veolia will manage the new plant, which will take the waste brine concentrate from the KBH Desalination Plant, extract and transform salts and minerals into commercial products, and produce more than 2 million gallons of drinkable water a day for the region.
“Waste brine disposal has long been the Achilles’ heel of inland desalination facilities,” EWM CEO Hubble Hausman said in a statement. “Our El Paso project will demonstrate that it is possible to produce multiple marketable chemical and mineral products from the waste brine while increasing the recovery of potable water and eliminating waste.”
Another obstacle to desalination technology has traditionally been the massive amounts of energy required to turn salt or brackish water into freshwater. A new study University of Illinois engineers finds using the material in batteries could lower the energy use and cost associated with desalination.
Battery Tech to Lower Desal Energy Use
According to a paper by Illinois mechanical science and engineering professor Kyle Smith and graduate student Rylan Dmello, published in the Journal of the Electrochemical Society Electricity, electricity running through a salt water-filled battery draws the salt ions out of the water.