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Researchers achieve major breakthrough with water desalination system
Date:7/13/2009

udy by our team, in the first part of the reverse osmosis process, 65 percent of the water that was fed in was recovered as drinking water, or potable water," said Yoram Cohen, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and lead investigator on the team. "We can potentially go up to 95 percent recovery using an accelerated chemical demineralization process that was also developed here at UCLA. This first field study with the M3 was a major achievement and the first phase of our high-recovery RO process demonstration program."

Andi Rahardianto, a postdoctoral researcher on the team, said that the approach taken by the group is "a significant leap" from the standard practice in the industry of constructing different pilot plants, often from scratch, in order to evaluate and demonstrate the feasibility of water production from different source waters.

"We believe systems such as the M3 can help accelerate not only water technology development but also its adoption," he said.

In addition to its use as a pilot-scale testing unit, the M3, according to Bartman, could also be deployed to various locations and used to produce fresh water in emergency situations.

"The M3's 'smart' nature means it can autonomously adapt to almost any variation in source water, allowing the M3 system to operate in situations where traditional RO desalination systems would fail almost immediately," he said.

Though the system is compact enough to be transported anywhere in the back of a van, it can generate 6,000 gallons of drinking water per day from the sea or 8,000 to 9,000 gallons per day from brackish groundwater. By Cohen's estimate, that means producing enough drinking water daily for up to 6,000 to 12,000 people.

"The system measures in real-time water pH, temperature, turbidity and salinity," said Cohen, who is also the director of UCLA's Water Technology Research (WaTeR) Center, which is overseeing this p
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Contact: Wileen Wong Kromhout
wwkromhout@support.ucla.edu
310-206-0540
University of California - Los Angeles
Source:Eurekalert

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