WASHINGTON, D.C. — Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the National Alliance for Water Innovation (NAWI) announced the selection of 12 projects that will improve the energy efficiency of desalination and water reuse technologies across the country. The selected projects will drive decarbonization of the water and wastewater sectors through innovative technologies to treat, use, and recycle water to bolster a circular economy and provide the United States with climate-resilient, cost-effective water supplies.

The climate crisis, population growth, and changes in how communities use water contribute to a growing water scarcity problem worldwide. Many regions around the United States are now water-stressed, lacking the water supply required for daily needs, agriculture, and energy and materials production. To meet demand, it is critical that we develop technologies that provide alternative water sources and treat and use water in ways that are efficient, sustainable, and cost-effective.

The selected research projects will attack two key process challenges in the treatment of brackish or salty groundwater, as well as municipal and industrial wastewater: 1) pre-treatment prior to desalination, and 2) post-treatment and disposal of the high-salt concentrate waste created after the desalination process. These two steps often represent a large percentage of the total cost and energy associated with the treatment of nontraditional water sources.

The projects will also advance NAWI's goal of achieving pipe-parity for 90% of nontraditional water sources. Pipe parity is achieved when the costs and technology solutions for treating and reusing nontraditional water sources, such as wastewater, are equal to the cost of treating conventional water sources.

Read the full list of selected projects.

NAWI is a public-private partnership that brings together a world-class team of industry and academic partners to examine the critical technical barriers and research needed to radically lower the cost and energy of desalination. NAWI is led by DOE's Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in collaboration with National Energy Technology Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and Oak Ridge National Laboratory, and is funded by the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE)'s Industrial Efficiency and Decarbonization Office.