In addition to the rising demand for cleaner sources of power, we also need to develop clean sources of water. Desalination is the process of turning salt water or even contaminated water into drinkable water by removing salt and other minerals. Seawater desalination technology has the potential to produce potable water for coastal communities. There are multiple approaches to desalination, such as reverse osmosis, nanofiltration, and electrodialysis, each with their own strengths. However, one challenge common to all of them is that they require ample energy. And it looks like solar power is getting its shot to merge with the exciting, rapidly growing field of desalination.
The DOE has a plan to make $15 million dollars available to fund solar technology desalination projects. This is a smart move since the demand for water is expected to increase globally by 55% between 2000 and 2050. Like so many other key resources, as the human population continues to increase, the demand will rise as well. Taking the initiative now to head off future shortages of critical resources is a prudent investment for everyone.