Global Impact Innovation

Salt Water Desalination

Desalination of ocean water

Water is essential to life, yet 785 million people in the world – 1 in 9 – lack access to it. According to a report by the World Economic Forum, the water crisis is the #4 global risk in terms of impact to society.

More than six times the population of the United States lives without a household water connection. These people, in particular women and children, must spend time to get water instead of working or going to school or caring for their families.

Today there are two main types of desalination technologies – membrane (RO) and thermal (MED, MVC and MSF) desalination. Reverse Osmosis (RO) desalination uses the principle of osmosis to remove salt and other impurities, by transferring water through a series of semi-permeable membranes. Thermal desalination uses heat, often waste heat from power plants or refineries to evaporate and condense water to purify it. Both of these technologies were developed 50 years ago. Although they have made an impact in providing clean water to the world there are still large portions of the world which cannot afford the costs of these technologies.

GII’s initiative is to develop a breakthrough technology for seawater desalination at 1/10th the cost of these two technologies so most of the world citizens can access and afford clean drinking water.