On Tuesday September 20, the Critical Issues Program hosted a webinar on the state of desalination in the United States and further afield. The three speakers were Tzahi Cath (Colorado School of Mines), Jessica Jones (Poseidon Water), and Katherine Zodrow (Montana Tech). Topics covered included the past, present, and future of desalination technologies; the costs and waste management challenges of desalination plants; the recently opened seawater desalination plant in Carlsbad, California; and brackish groundwater use and desalination in Texas. A recording of the webinar and the speakers’ slides can be found at bit.ly/desal-webinar.
Background: Fresh water is an increasingly scarce resource in an increasingly populous and water-intensive world. Maintaining an adequate supply of fresh water both nationally and globally will be one of the largest challenges of the 21st century. Desalination of salty water – from both the ocean and the ground – represents a huge potential source of fresh water. The development of this resource requires a combination of geoscience, engineering, waste management, policy, and community outreach and participation.
Our speakers are:
Tzahi Cath, Ph.D., Ben L. Fryrear Professor, Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering, Colorado School of Mines | SlidesVideo
Katherine R. Zodrow, Ph.D., Assistant Professor, Environmental Engineering, Montana Tech of the University of Montana; Non-Resident Scholar, Center for Energy Studies, James A. Baker III Institute, Rice University | SlidesVideo
About 18 percent of U.S. oil and natural gas is produced offshore and production is growing. Globally, the offshore provides 30 percent of oil and natural gas.
Offshore wind is also a growing source of electricity, especially in Europe. The U.S. has significant offshore wind power potential, but no commercial wind facilities are in development [2017 update: the first offshore wind project in the United States went live in December 2016 off the coast of Rhode Island].
Ongoing technological advancements assure all these resources will continue to grow while addressing heightened environmental concerns.
Background: Critical minerals and materials are key components of the innovation economy. Minerals are a part of almost every product we use on a daily basis, either as the raw materials for manufacturing processes or as the end products themselves. Advanced technologies for communications, clean energy, medical devices, and national security rely on raw materials from mines throughout the world. In 2010, China curtailed exports of rare earth metals and sparked major concern about the security of global supply chains for a range of vital minerals and materials.
Research on locating and processing the minerals and materials that fuel cutting-edge technology and manufacturing across the United States
The role of information on the global supply of, demand for, and flow of minerals and materials in identifying critical minerals and supporting economic and strategic decision making.