WASHINGTON, D.C. - Today, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced $100 million to establish an Energy-Water Desalination Hub (Hub) to address water security issues in the United States. The Hub will focus on early-stage research and development (R&D) for energy-efficient and cost-competitive desalination technologies including manufacturing challenges, and for treating non-traditional water sources for multiple end-use applications.
“Technological achievements generated through the Hub will help us achieve several strategic goals established through the Water Security Grand Challenge announced earlier this year,” said U.S. Secretary of Energy Rick Perry. “By focusing R&D efforts on advancing transformational technologies that promote cost-effective desalination, we are working towards meeting the national and global need for secure, affordable water.”
In March, Secretary Perry hosted a roundtable discussion at the White House to explore the use of prize competitions to drive technological innovation in critical water issues. DOE is working with interagency partners to develop prizes and associated R&D that will catalyze innovation at the nexus of energy and water.
Energy and water systems are interconnected. Energy is required to extract, treat, and deliver water. On the other hand, water is used in multiple phases of energy production and electricity generation, from irrigating crops for biofuels to providing cooling water for thermoelectric power plants. Purifying water for these processes can be energy intensive and becomes more difficult as levels of saline increase.
The Hub will focus on desalination R&D to provide low-cost alternatives that treat "non-traditional" water sources such as seawater, brackish water, and produced waters, for use in municipal and industrial water supplies, or to serve other water resource needs. Successful research can then reduce demand on stressed freshwater supplies. Globally, fresh water scarcity is a major humanitarian and economic challenge that impacts all sectors of society.
The DOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy’s Advanced Manufacturing Office will lead the Energy-Water Desalination Hub. DOE will fund one new five year award, subject to appropriations. The Hub team will work to achieve the goals of four technical topic areas: (1) materials research and development; (2) new processes research and development; (3) modeling and simulation tools; and (4) integrated data and analysis.
View the funding application and submission requirements for the Energy-Water Desalination Hub here. Concept papers are due on February 7, 2019.
Read more on ways to advance energy-water desalination in DOE's Clean Water Processing Technologies Workshop Series Summary Report.
While many Westchesterites want to reduce their personal carbon footprint, some are deterred by the idea of slapping the monstrosity that is a solar panel on their multi-thousand-dollar roofs. A new trend is emerging that provides renewable energy — possibly enough to power an entire house — in a more aesthetically pleasing way: solar shingles.
Solar shingles are photovoltaic cells meant to look like traditional asphalt roof shingles. Instead of being mounted on rooftops like their paneled cousins, solar shingles replace your roof’s asphalt tiles. They are the same size and shape as traditional shingles and are, according to some sources, similarly reliable.
Larchmont resident Oliver Koehler, CEO of SunTegra (formerly known as Integrated Solar Technology), explains the market: “Many homeowners today demand an option besides standard solar panels, and thanks to Elon Musk’s efforts in publicizing Tesla’s solar roof, there is today a much higher awareness that solar roofing products are available.” SunTegra, headquartered in Binghamton, NY, works with Briarcliff’s Sunrise Solar Solutions, a residential and commercial installer of solar photovoltaic systems, and Mamaroneck’s Murphy Brothers Contracting, to offer solar power to Westchester and the Hudson Valley.
Douglas Hertz, president and CEO of Sunrise Solar Solutions, says the primary advantage of solar shingles is aesthetic, a sentiment echoed by Murphy Brothers’ Michael Murphy. “Solar shingles are an excellent option for homeowners who want to save on their energy bills while choosing to be environmentally responsible but don’t like the bulky look of solar panels,” says Murphy.
Koehler says that while SunTegra’s products are typically installed with a new roof or reroof, customers have the option of reroofing only the area where the solar shingles will go. “Although they are a more expensive option, if you need a new roof, it can be a cost-effective approach,” Hertz says, adding that the permit process takes no longer than the typical solar-panel system. Hertz advises homeowners that homes with solar shingles must have accessible attics beneath them, as wiring will have to be run directly into the roof.
An added bonus: Installing solar shingles can provide tax credits and incentives to homeowners. According to Sunrise Solar Solutions, “Currently the federal tax credit is 30 percent of the gross system cost. New York is 25 percent, with a cap of $5,000 [most users hit the dollar-amount cap before the percentage cap]. These rates are good for 2019 but the federal rate begins to change in 2020.”