GE to Develop Wind-Powered Water Purification

GE Global Research and Texas Tech University announced this week that they are teaming up to work on another kind of desalination/energy combo.

GE to Develop Wind-Powered Water Purification

November 29, 2006

NISKAYUNA, NY — GE Global Research, the centralized research organization of the General Electric Company, today announced it is partnering with Texas Tech University to develop affordable water desalination systems to increase the quantity and quality of clean water available in arid areas around the United States and globally.

The GE-Texas Tech partnership will focus on the integration of renewable energy systems, such as wind turbines, with membrane desalination processes. The development of the integrated renewable energy-water system has the potential to significantly reduce the cost of creating new sources of freshwater from impaired resources, such as brackish water, by directly addressing the major component of operating cost of desalination systems – energy.

Again, notice that while there’s not much money available for desalination research–there’s plenty available for energy research.

The partnership is part of GE’s company-wide ecomagination initiative, in which GE has pledged to more than double its level of investment in the development of cleaner energy technologies, from $700 million to $1.5 billion, over the next five years.

btw why did GE choose Texas and why wind energy?

The answer is that Texas has recently become the largest wind energy producer in the USA with more soon to come online:

Texas has mandated that at least 5,880 megawatts of energy used in the state come from renewable-energy sources by 2009 and 5,000 more megawatts by 2015.

By the numbers

2,700 Megawatts of wind energy that could be added to the Texas grid by the end of 2007.

2,631 Megawatts of wind energy currently operating in Texas.

2,044 Turbines currently in Texas.

Top wind-energy states

1. Texas

2. California

3. Iowa

SOURCES: ERCOT, American Wind Energy Association

Wind power is expected in 2006 to provide 18% to 20% of the new capacity installed in the country — making it the second-largest source of new power generation after new natural gas plants according to the Energy Information Administration.

wind energy is one of the most economical forms of utility-scale renewable energy available, with a “bus bar” price (which does not include transmission and distribution costs) of 3 to 6 cents per kWh at good wind sites.

By contrast, power generated by oil-, gas- and coal-powered plants feeding into the PJM Interconnection — the grid operator covering most of the country from the Hudson River to the Chicago area and as far south as North Carolina — costs 2 to 3 cents a kilowatt-hour, the report said. PJM supplies power to 51 million customers.

Also, as I’ve mentioned before west Texas has a lot of brine aquifers below the windy desert that could see some benefit from desalination. These aquifers are currently being tapped by gas drillers. In some places the water used for drilling is being recycled and desalinated. These might also be good places for greenhouses.

 

 

 

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