The New Water

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Welcome to the HydroRevolution, a paradigm shift in water. Share your contact information with us to stay up to date on our progress, products and announcements.

Vision

At WATERFX we are reimagining water. Current water systems were designed for a global population of three billion and by the end of this century we will need water for over twelve billion people. Our mission is to use technology to develop a new source of water and make fresh water affordable, accessible and abundant for every human on the planet. We do this using solar desalination to generate fresh water from an infinite source of salt water and through a peer-to-peer connected water network to deliver a better, more reliable, ever sustainable water service to individuals, businesses and cities.

 

Goals

ACCESSIBLE

Water is abundant, yet not always accessible in the places we need it most. When we deplete the local water supply, we turn to water diversion to bring additional water using pipelines, canals and aqueducts. This distribution infrastructure is expensive and adds substantially to the cost of water. It also detracts from the environment, which is already suffering from excessive water diversions. WATERFX makes effective use of the water we do have – we call this distributed generation. By desalinating salt water or recovering impaired water, we create additional supply. Our approach not only makes local water resources more available , it lessens demand on the water grid which reduces the need to move water over long distances. Since water generation is energy intensive, the key to distributed generation is the source of energy. We use solar energy as it is low cost and can be deployed almost anywhere to generate water.

 

DRINKABLE

A common misconception is that we are running out of water. In fact, the amount of fresh water has not changed one drop since the beginning of time. The problem is we now use it faster than Mother Nature can replenish it and what remains is often unusable, trapped as ice or as salt water that is not potable. Even in California, a desert climate where we suffer from chronic droughts, we have more water than we will ever need. Though it exists in unusable forms that can not be used for drinking, such as seawater, brackish groundwater, wastewater and agricultural water. All these sources of water can be sustainably cleaned and returned to the water system, reducing or altogether eliminating our dependence on finite, natural fresh water. Desalinated water can be up to ten times cleaner than the water we consume from rivers, lakes and groundwater.

 

TECHNOLOGY

WATERFX is leading a revolution in water technology (aptly named the HydroRevolution). This transformation affects both the cost of desalinated water, which can be dramatically reduced to compete directly with natural freshwater, and in how we use technology to ensure reliable water access. Universal water access will continue to elude us if we are dependent on massive infrastructure projects and technology is the most powerful tool for leapfrogging excessive infrastructure by harnessing local energy resources. We call this new water paradigm WATER 3.0as it represents the third major advancement in water since the beginning of time. This new technology platform can ween us off our total dependence on natural freshwater and enable us to thrive in spite of climate-induced water scarcity. Advances in water technology have created an inflection point where the cost of infrastructure to transport water is more costly than the energy needed to make it. WATER 3.0 will scale to the needs of 10 billion people and result in the lowest possible delivered water cost.

 

We can create as much water as we need and altogether eliminate our dependence on natural freshwater.

Solutions

Generation

Increasing water generation is accomplished by separating fresh water from salt water, known as desalination. Conventional seawater desalination uses large amounts of electricity to push seawater through a membrane, called reverse osmosis. This process is costly, as it requires a lot of energy to drive high-pressure pumps and as such, has limited the application of desalination as a primary source of water. Traditional desalination also requires the discharge of concentrated brine, which can be harmful to marine ecosystems, further hampering the growth of desalination.

Solar desalination uses solar energy in place of fossil-generated electricity as the primary energy source. This reduces the cost of energy and increases the amount of water recovered. Solar desalination is not limited to seawater and can be deployed anywhere with a solar resource to treat and recycle impaired water. Since the energy supply is directly integrated into the desalination process, there is no need for co-location of a power plant or access to grid transmission. Solar desalination does not produce a liquid byproduct that needs to be discharged.

 

Exchange

Energy commodities, such as electricity, are efficiently exchanged in open marketplaces where trading activity is driven by supply and demand. Water is unique in that it does not benefit from an open exchange, making it a highly illiquid commodity. We are building the first, comprehensive water exchange platform to enable water to be traded and exchanged. We call this platform LQUID. LQUID is powered by a deep database of water holders, water sources and water quality data which maps to a fully-digitized water grid routing the flow of water within the system. 

LQUID allows anyone, whether you are an individual, business or city, to buy, sell or invest in water. By opening up the exchange of water to all, we make the water system more efficient and streamline the process of moving water to where it is valued.  

Distribution

The distribution of water is through a central utility or water agency who procures large volumes of water for cities and municipalities then forms a contract with individuals to provide water service. Distributed water generation is a peer-to-peer network that directly connects water providers and water users to make alternate sources of water available. Water is distributed using the existing distribution grid, though supply is greatly enhanced by enabling new water sources, such as solar desalination. The water quality and reliability remains the same, however increased supply helps to maintain a low cost of water for the longterm.

We facilitate the execution of smart water contracts between users and automate the process of consummating a water transfer. This can be a transfer of water from one individual to another, from an individual to a business or from the development of a new water project to any number of end users. With our platform, anyone who has available water or who wants to develop a new, sustainable source of water becomes a water provider. And anyone who needs water or wants to buy water can directly access alternate water providers. We facilitate all the steps required to deliver these new water sources.

The Evolution of Water

WATER

1.0

Surface Water
(beginning of time through the 1900’s)

WATER

2.0

Groundwater and Water Diversion
(beginning in 1950)

WATER

3.0

Distributed Generation
(2020 and beyond)

FAQs

The physics of desalination dictates that separating fresh water from salt water requires a great deal of energy. Traditional seawater desalination is expensive because it utilizes large amounts of fossil-generated electricity to power the process. This electricity is generated at around 40% efficiency and transported over the power grid to the desalination plant where it is used to make water. In contrast, solar desalination uses lower cost thermal (heat) energy generated from the sun through a process called Concentrated Solar Power (CSP). This energy powers a thermal desalination process directly and avoids the losses of converting to electricity. It is also directly integrated with the desalination process, further increasing the overall efficiency. As a result, the cost of water using solar desalination is lower than conventional desalination and over time can become the least expensive source of water. 

Solar desalination has been under development in research labs and small demonstration projects for many years, yet the technology has only recently reached a point where it is ready to be deployed commercially. WATERFX intends to build the first direct solar powered desalination plant to provide water that can then be distributed through the existing water grid, beginning in 2020. This requires cooperation between land owners, water providers, local water agencies and state and federal regulators….which takes time.  

The process of generating water using solar desalination is well understood and as a result the cost is known (and has been published by many leading academic groups). However, what is not yet well understood is the cost of developing the overall plant and delivering water to the end customer. This requires careful consideration of the plant location, distribution infrastructure, participating water agencies and type of water user. We are conducting studies now to determine the final water cost. We would not be undertaking this challenge if we did not feel strongly that scaling up solar desalination will ultimately result in a substantially lower cost of water over the longterm.

In many regions of the country, you can maintain a service relationship with your local utility, while also having the choice to have your energy supplied from cleaner, more affordable source such as solar, geothermal or wind. This is often done through Community Choice Aggregators (CCA’s) who partner with energy utilities for the delivery of energy to retail customers. CCA’s must be approved by state regulators and the state energy commission. Many states have adopted this approach in an effort to open the electricity markets to alternative providers. In the future, we see a similar model being applied to water where local communities can choose to aggregate demand and source water from alternative suppliers. This will take some time to come to fruition as it requires multiple levels of government approval. There is no fundamental reason why a ‘water CCA’ is not viable.

Generating water using solar desalination requires more land than conventional desalination, though we view this as a positive. First off, it moves desalination away from the coasts where land is expensive and access to the ocean is a challenge. By integrating the energy supply into the process, desalination can be developed anywhere with a solar resource and a source of impaired water to be treated. For example, in the Central Valley of California there is vast amounts of flat, inexpensive land with enormous amounts of saline water that can be treated and distributed. This is a good use of land which is often already fallowed due to salt accumulation or lack of water availability. In many other parts of the world that are water scarce, access to sufficient land is not a barrier to implementing solar desalination.

Water produced from solar desalination is actually cleaner than most tap water. Desalinated water typically contains less than 100 ppm of total dissolved solids (TDS) which can be up to five times more pure than natural freshwater. In addition, the desalination process removes all bacteria, contaminants and impurities often found in natural freshwater. As a result, desalinated water is the cleanest water you can drink!

We anticipate the first plant to come online in 2020 and for the first water deliveries to be made in 2021. Much of our development process is dependent on factors beyond our control, nonetheless we are actively working to accelerate the development.

To learn more, please contact us at info.