Engineering Innovation Podcast and Radio Series

Low Energy Desalination

PostedDecember 6, 2009

Download File (mp3)

Randy Atkins: Saltworks Technologies is using the sun to evaporate water taken from the sea in, at first, a counterintuitive process co-invented by engineer and CEO Ben Sparrow.

Ben Sparrow: Initially, we produce a very highly-concentrated salt water.  Sea water is 3.5-percent and we produce something that’s about 18-percent.  That’s our fuel source.

Randy Atkins: It’s placed in a device connected to less-salty sea water by two specially engineered channels that cause salt’s oppositely-charged sodium and chloride ions to flow, by diffusion, in different directions.  That creates a current.

Ben Sparrow: We complete the circuit by inserting this chamber that has the solution you want to desalt.  That voltage is sufficient enough to draw a net flow of salt out of the product.

Randy Atkins: Sparrow says only a small amount of electrical energy is needed to pump water around.  With the National Academy of Engineering, Randy Atkins, 103-point-5 F-M and WTOP-dot-com.


  • A paper Sparrow wrote on desalination