March 22nd, 2015

Tech Innovation from San Joaquin Valley

I know, you're used to hearing about tech innovation in a very different part of California. But bear with me, because all the usual rules about innovation turn out to apply here.

There's a drought of long standing in California, and growers don't have water, unless they buy it on the spot market. Even what they might or might not get from their allocation will be expensive enough that solar desalination _might_ turn out to be cheaper than what they'd be paying for the conventional water. But this isn't the usual desalination of seawater. This is desalination of irrigation water, thus having the potential to start _reversing_ the decades of salt-i-fication of agricultural lands in California. Could not be more exciting to read about this!!!

http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/California-drought-Solar-desalination-plant-5326024.php

This kind of parabolic reflector is a Not Great form of solar power for other uses, because it is water intensive. But it is perfect for this application. The people doing this have plans for the salt output as well, which is great to hear -- otherwise you are moving toxic waste (selenium, boron, gympsum) from one location (distributed across land, in drainage water) to another (output of the desalination process).

I went looking for solar power desalination, thinking in more traditional terms, like the Saudi barges. But this is so much more wonderful!

More about the technology from WaterFX's website:

http://waterfx.co/central-valley/aqua4-achieving-zero-discharge-desalination/

BI coverage from a year ago:

http://www.businessinsider.com/california-waterfx-solar-desalination-technology-aaron-mandell-2014-3

Altho now I am worried because a lot of this stuff has most recent dates from about a year ago and I'd sorta like to know the current status . . .

http://www.ibtimes.com/solar-water-purification-technology-recycles-ag-runoff-1627236

From last July. Hmmm.

http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/technology/13064-valley-projects-looks-to-the-sun-for-clean-water

Also from last July, talking about an expansion funded by private investors, due to complete January timeframe or thereabouts this year. This article mentions other projects as well (a group that previously wanted to do a nuke powered desalination project has something else in mind now).