The process of desalination offers the alluring possibility of a near unlimited supply of water for drinking and agriculture from an otherwise unusable source. But there’s a catch. Current desalination technology requires a lot of energy. Most plants are powered by fossil fuel, generating a great deal of carbon pollution in the process.
A test project on Hawaii Island aims to change that equation. The state’s Natural Energy Laboratory on Hawaii Island recently received a Department of Energy grant to develop a solar-powered desalination plant.
The Conversation producer Ryan Finnerty spoke with Greg Barbour, Executive Director of the Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority and Wendell Ela, Professor of Desalination and Water Treatment to learn more.