There are billions of gallons of water in California’s parched Central Valley. But the problem is this water is filled with salt, toxins and heavy metals, making it useless for irrigation. As we’ve mentioned before, traditional water desalination plants can be costly and use up a lot of energy. However, San Francisco-based start-up WaterFX has come up with a solution that uses heat to turn salty water into freshwater, and is sure to help the region’s water-pinched farmers.
WaterFX’s Aqua4 project, currently in phase one, is humming along in California’s agricultural hub that’s especially feeling this year’s awful drought. As Clean Technica reports, though small at 160 x 40 feet, this solar-powered plant is capable of turning otherwise unusable water into 65,000 gallons of freshwater a day. And here’s more good news — it also converts all that leftover brine and other minerals from the saltwater for reuse (such as calcium compounds for drywall or nitrates for fertilizer). You can watch the video above to see how it works.
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This water desalination plant could solve multiple problems. First, because it runs on solar power, the energy is cheap and clean. Second, local farms no longer have to pipe in water from other locations. Thanks to this project’s success, there are plans in the works to expand the facility later this year to quench more of California’s thirsty cities.