CA's first commercial solar desalination plant to bring fresh water to Central Valley

The Panoche Water and Drainage District in California's Central Valley will soon receive a state-of-the-art commercial solar desalination plant that will provide a highly sustainable water source to local water districts by using solar energy to recycle salt impaired water into fresh water.

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SONOMA COUNTY, CA July 15, 2015 – The Panoche Water and Drainage District in California's Central Valley will soon receive a state-of-the-art commercial solar desalination plant that will provide a highly sustainable water source to local water districts by using solar energy to recycle salt impaired water into fresh water.

Provided by HydroRevolutionSM, a California subsidiary of WaterFX™, the desalination plant will serve as the first of its kind in the Central Valley, but the company hopes this project is merely the first step in revolutionizing the way the state of California uses water.

The HydroRevolution plant will be an expansion of the demonstration plant operated by WaterFX in the Panoche District in 2013. "The demonstration plant proved that we can reliably treat drainage water and also showed that the treated water is not a waste product; it is a valuable new source of fresh water," said HydroRevolution Chairman Aaron Mandell.

Both representatives from WaterFX and officials from the Panoche Water and Drainage District are eager to see the possibilities for sustainable and consistent fresh water in the Central Valley grow through the construction of the HydroRevolution plant. "Using a sustainable source of energy to recycle or desalinate water will become a mainstay in regions with water scarcity," added Mandell.

The new plant will be built on 35 acres of land currently farmed with salt-tolerant crops, with the potential of growing to a 70-acre site. This land that will house the solar desalination facility is a small fraction of the total 6,000 acres currently used to manage and reuse irrigation drainage water for the Panoche Water District and other participating water districts. HydroRevolution will treat this water in order to recycle unusable irrigation water, thereby providing a new, local source of fresh water to offset the loss of imported water into the region.

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The new commercial solar desalination plant will be constructed in the Panoche Water and Drainage District in California's Central Valley.


"Given the trend of highly uncertain inputs from the Delta, we need to develop a reliable supply of water in the Central Valley. This is a sustainable solution that can provide a substantial amount of additional water," said Panoche Water and Drainage District's manager, Dennis Falaschi. "After seeing the results from the demonstration plant by WaterFX, we're eager to get the HydroRevolution plant online quickly and [are] optimistic about seeing others replicate what we're doing here. There is an enormous resource of subsurface water that can be utilized."

HydroRevolution will ultimately be able to generate up to 5,000 acre-feet of water per year -- enough water for 10,000 homes or 2,000 acres of cropland. All fresh water generated will be made available to Panoche and other nearby water districts. The plant will utilize Aqua4™ technology developed by WaterFX.

The system is a concentrated solar still that uses large solar arrays to capture solar thermal energy from the sun. The sun heats mineral oil that then flows to the Multi-effect Distillation system that evaporates fresh water from the source water. Over 90 percent of the fresh water is recovered in this process, while the briny remainder can be further treated to produce minerals and salts as useable solid co-products.

See also:

"Solar Solutions: Utilities Harness Power of Sunlight to Reduce Costs, Save Energy"

"One of nation's largest WTPs to receive large-scale solar installation"

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