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Israeli-Texan Team of Scientists Wins U.S.-Sponsored Water Technology Competition

A team of researchers from Israel’s Technion and the University of North Texas won a $125,000 first prize in a competition sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) for their innovative method of desalinating water, The Times of Israel reported Wednesday. Aided by the prize money, the winners plan to implement their technology in Jordan.

Researchers at the Technion’s Stephen and Nancy Grand Water Research Institute joined the competition at the request of researchers from the electrical engineering department at the University of North Texas. The American researchers, who focused on developing a solution to the alternative energy aspect of the competition, asked Prof. Carlos Dosoretz and Prof. Ori Lahav, researchers from the Technion Faculty of Civil and Environmental Engineering, to design a solution for the desalination component of the project, and to submit a joint proposal. Other researchers from universities in Jordan, Nepal and Brazil worked on other components of the project. …

“The water treatment process was based on an innovative combination of three technologies – reverse osmosis, ion exchange and nano-filtration,” Lahav said. “The challenge was to find a solution for problematic water characterized by particularly high concentrations of dissolved calcium and sulfate.”

To do that, the researchers used a combination of wind and solar energy to power the system – with the result a self-sustaining and autonomously powered desalination system that could be deployed in any environment, taking in brackish water from the sea or desert aquifers and turning it into potable water.

The joint Israeli-Texas team was one of eight that competed and one of six finalists. A USAID official praised the winners for implementing the kind of innovative approach needed to meet the world’s growing demand for water.

[Photo: CCTV America / YouTube ]