HSU developing prototype for desalination technology with $600K grant

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ARCATA - As the extreme drought continues in California, water remains one of the state's biggest concerns, but researchers at Humboldt State University are hoping to change the way we get our water.

An environmental resources research team is developing a new portable prototype desalination system. It will turn sea water into drinking water without the costly and harmful side effects of regular reverse osmosis.

A $600,000 dollar grant from the California Department of Water Resources is funding the project. The new technology is expected to dilute salty brine byproduct and lower overall costs. After development, the team will then test the prototype at the Samoa Pulp Mill for one year.

"You take the sea water, produce the fresh water and also produce the high salinity brine and then we enter in the P-R-O which is pressure retarded osmosis and with the use of a waste water stream we dilute the brine with this wastewater producing energy. Then we couple these two systems mechanically so that the energy produced in P-R-O is transferred to reverse osmosis,” said HSU Environmental Resources Engineer, Andrea Achilli