Project Name: GIS-Based Graphical User Interface Tools for Analyzing Solar-Thermal Desalination Systems and High-Potential Implementation Regions
Funding Opportunity: Solar Desalination
SETO Subprogram: Concentrating Solar Power
Location: New York, and Palisades, NY
SETO Award Amount: $965,198
Awardee Cost Share: $279,346
Principal Investigator: Vasilis Fthenakis

Producing fresh water through desalination can benefit arid, water-scarce regions, but the current membrane-desalination process is expensive and energy-intensive. This project will develop software that simplifies the planning, design, and valuation of solar-thermal and solar-hybrid desalination systems. The software will be based on different combinations of technical and economic models, and it will use geographic information systems for detailed analyses and quick visualization.


Using industrial data, the research team will develop and verify integrated techno-economic software models that will improve the design of desalination systems. To create the software, the team will collect, implement, and augment multiple geospatial data layers to develop a computer program that allows users to work with graphics like symbols and icons. The team will also include concentrating solar-thermal power models from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory and validated solar-thermal desalination models from Plataforma Solar de Almeria in its software development.


The software will help to identify high-potential regions for solar-thermal desalination through modeling hybrids of solar-thermal and membrane-desalination technologies. The data layers in the software will allow users to see where solar-thermal and solar-hybrid desalination systems might be built, which will enable comparative evaluation of resources and technology options. The software will be open-source, enabling users to implement its models for local, regional, and global analyses.