The technology will turn salt water into fresh water for arid farming region. California’s Central Valley farms will have a new technology on their side, converting drainage water into fresh water for irrigation.
The Westlands Water District is the largest agricultural water district in the US. The district is funding a pilot project that will use New Sky Energy’s salt/CO2 conversion process that will convert high salinity drainage water into fresh water for irrigation and “clean” chemicals that can be sold to help subsidize the new plant’s costs.
The $3.2-million project includes a Central Valley demonstration drainage water treatment facility. The first phase is projected to begin in the second half of 2010. At full operation, the plant will desalinate approximately 240,000 gallons of drainage water per day and convert approximately five tons of waste brine salts into carbon-neutral and carbon-negative chemicals such as acid, caustic soda and solid carbonates like limestone and soda ash.
The project will also capture approximately 2.8 tons of CO2 daily.
The water treatment plant will be built by Westlands together with New Sky Energy and its joint venture partner Ag Water – New Sky. Ag Water – New Sky’s role is to provide the reverse osmosis desalination equipment. New Sky is to supply the carbon-negative electrochemical technology to process the waste brine stream generated by desalination. Salts extracted from drainage water will be processed by New Sky to capture CO2 from the air. This operation will produce several clean chemicals, which can be sold to subsidize the desalinization plant costs.
The project will not only provide fresh water for more than 600,000 acres of farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties eliminating at the same time, drainage water pollution, but its goals is also to eliminate the potential danger posed by salts building up in the soil, which can impact plant roots, preventing crop growth and reducing yields, according to the partnership.
Another novel wastewater demo project is developing in Hopewell, using algae to clean river water at the Regional Wastewater Treatment Facility. This projects also produces bio fuel and green coal from the algae residue.