IBM Co-Producing Cheaper, Efficient Solar Method of De-Salting Saltwater

In every part of the world, copious amounts of water are used every day for various purposes. The requirement of water is unavoidable, as well as the costs involved in its purification and distribution — but maybe not for much longer. IBM has announced a partnership with the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST), Saudi Arabia’s national research and development organization, that will see the two entities join forces to research a new water desalination plant.

According to IBM’s news release, the plant, to be built in the Saudi Arabian city of Al Khafji, will be powered by solar technology and would stand to significantly reduce water and energy costs — a good thing indeed, considering the plant will carry a production capacity of 30,000 cubic meters per day used to serve the needs of 100,000 Al Khafji citizens. “KACST plans to power the plant with the ultra-high concentrator photovoltaic (UHCPV) technology that is being jointly developed by IBM and KACST,” reads the release. “Inside the plant, the desalination process will hinge on … a nanomembrane that filters out salts as well as potentially harmful toxins in water while using less energy than other forms of water purification.”

PV unit

Image via IBM

The nanomembrane will be combined with solar power to significantly reduce the seawater desalination processes at such plants. Desalination has always been a high-cost necessity, given that over 97 percent of the world is comprised of ocean.