MTEK Energy Solutions: Desalination

In order to ensure economic viability, most traditional desalination technologies for the production of potable water require large facilities and are typically sited adjacent to centralized electric power because of energy demands. The potable water is then transported to destinations where it's consumed.

Now an Oregon BEST Commercialization Grant is helping Oregon startup MTEK Energy Solutions collaborate with Oregon State University researchers to advance a new desalination technology that could cut energy consumption associated with removing salt from seawater by 50 percent, boost potable water yields, and enable small, distributed desalination operations.

The technology, which uses a novel capacitive deionization process to move salt ions to the exterior of a series of microchannels while potable water flows through and exits the system, has attracted the attention of CH2M HILL because of its potential scalability.

"The technology MTEK is developing, should it prove out in bench and pilot testing, will go a long way to help manage the water-energy nexus and make desalination an even more cost-effective and sustainable treatment technology," said Bill Byers, VP and Technology Fellow for CH2M HILL's Water Business Group.

The $145,000 grant is enabling MTEK to work with Goran Jovanovic, an Oregon BEST researcher and OSU chemical engineering professor who co-directs the Microproducts Breakthrough Institute in Corvallis.