Conference Recognizes New Technologies

Three new water technologies that may make a major contribution to addressing global water scarcity received special recognition at a conference hosted in London by the International Desalination Association and Global Water Intelligence.

The conference, "Water, Finance and Sustainability 2008: New Directions for a Thirsty Planet," examined the technological progress being made in creating a road map to a sustainable water future.

A panel of experts studied approximately 30 new technologies selected by conference organizers and voted for those deemed to be the most promising in bringing down the cost of developing new water resources. When the votes were counted, the result was a dead heat between three technologies aimed at reducing the cost of making drinking water from the sea:

• NanoH20, a membrane that uses nanotechnology to separate pure water from seawater at a lower energy cost than existing reverse osmosis membranes.

• Axial Piston Pressure Exchanger Pump (from Ocean Pacific Technologies), a combined pump and energy recovery device that cuts the amount of energy required in the desalination process.

• Water Science, a new approach to separating freshwater from seawater based on trapping water molecules in carbon dioxide molecules as clathrates. Unlike conventional desalination, the energy consumption required in the process is lowered due to the thermodynamics of salt solutions.

The judging panel also named two runners up:

• EarthWater Global, a means of detecting large-scale renewable groundwater resources that promises to increase the estimated volume of globally accessible, renewable groundwater resources.

• NanoClear (from Dais Analytic), a new method of desalination that combines both membrane and vapor compression technology to draw freshwater from seawater.

The judging panel consisted of panel chairman Tom Pankratz, a director of the International Desalination Association and editor of the Water Desalination Report; John Tonner of Water Consultants International; venture capitalist Lydia Whyatt of Foursome Investments, and Errol Grimes, chief executive officer of the Water and Sewerage Authority of Trinidad and Tobago.

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