Salinity: Why we need to treat water better
New members Salinity got in touch to tell us a bit more about what they do and their current direction.
While we think of ourselves as residents of a blue planet, only 0.5% of the earth’s water is in the form of available fresh water. That’s the kind we need to survive. The supply of fresh water has been steadily decreasing while demand has been steadily rising. In the 20th Century, the world’s population quadrupled – but water use increased six-fold.
In order for us to access this finite resource, a huge unseen global industry pumps, treats and redistributes water to homes, farms and factories. But only if you’re lucky enough to live in a country with adequate water supply. According to Unicef, half of the world’s population could be living in areas facing water scarcity by as early as 2025.
The water industry consumes vast amounts of electricity – 978 trillion watthours (TWh) in 2020, which is 4% of the world’s total consumption, or enough to power almost 500 million electric cars for a year (roughly half the number of cars on the planet).
And this energy requirement is predicted to rise to almost 1500TWh by 2040.
Meanwhile 80% of wastewater is released into the environment untreated. To improve the water quality of lakes, rivers and oceans more water treatment solutions are needed, which will in turn increase our energy consumption.
And where does all this energy come from? Currently 80% of the world’s electricity is generated from fossil fuels.
In order to get even close to the net zero goals of 2050, we need to improve the way we treat water while reducing the energy it uses.
Part of the solution lies in better water treatment technologies, specifically ones that provide far greater energy efficiency and versatility.
Coventry-based Salinity Solutions aims to treat water better. After 10 years of development at Birmingham and Aston universities, their SAM50 system operates in a way that is over 50% more energy efficient than traditional high recovery reverse osmosis systems, offering significant savings in operational water treatment cost and carbon footprint. Plus, their compact, mobile units are scalable for a wide range of applications.
Founder and CTO Tim Naughton commented “We’ve recently completed successful field trials with Cornish Lithium and we’re now looking at a range of other water treatment applications, including industrial and agricultural. Our tests show that our system delivers 95% water recovery, or 20x brine concentration, for just 0.5kWh per tonne of feedwater, which is an industry game changer. We’re hoping to make a significant impact in a market projected to reach a value of 490 billion US dollars by 2029.”
To find out more, visit salinitysolutions.co.uk. or email for an introduction.
Wastewater market global size; Wastewater release; Energy consumption by water sector; World energy outlook; Volume of global car production; EV energy consumption: Fresh water; Fossil fuels; Water scarcity