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Solar-Powered Desalination System Cuts Energy Costs By 90%

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Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016

TSD’s system processes up to 10,000 cubic meters of water per day for small to medium scale sites.

As reported in Israel21C:

Israeli startup TSD (Tethys Solar Desalination) plans to revolutionize the water desalinisation process with a low-cost, off-grid, scalable and environmentally friendly module technology using only the power of the sun – no fossil fuels and no carbon dioxide emissions.

TSD plans to have its first pilot site up and running in Israel by mid-2017, followed by possible pilots abroad.

TSD’s technology is the brainchild of cofounders Joshua Altman and Prof. Moshe Tshuva, head of the energy engineering department at Afeka College of Engineering in Tel Aviv.

Aiming to find a cheaper and more energy-efficient method than using photovoltaic (PV) cells to generate electricity for desalination plants, they developed a method using solar energy without PV cells — in fact without any electricity at all — for desalination and water treatment. Up to now, attempts at using solar energy in this way have been inefficient and have been done only on a very small scale.

Their unique direct solar desalination technology can process up to 10,000 cubic meters of water per day for small to medium sites such as farms, factories and hotels, as well as remote villages, desert resorts and beaches, off-grid sites and disaster areas. Solar heat evaporates the water, and the purified water vapor is collected and cooled back to liquid form.

“It’s a highly efficient system, using each unit of energy from the sun several times,” says Emmerich. “It’s like creating micro-clouds and harvesting the water from them. We don’t touch the water; we just use what has been evaporated from the heat. In fact, we can use any source of residual heat to activate our process. Almost all industrial processes emit heat that is normally released to the atmosphere. We can use that heat for treating water.”

Headed by CEO Gil Toren, the company estimates that its technology cuts desalination energy costs by more than 90%, and significantly reduces construction, operations and maintenance costs.

Founded in 2014 with seed money from angel investors, TSD is based in Tel Aviv and is in the midst of a Series A fundraising round.

While desalination plants in Australia currently service only the capital cities, TSD’s technology potentially presents a cheaper, environmentally sustainable opportunity to source water for many other parts of the country where water is scarce.