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The Water Desalination Research & Development Program Newsletter - No. 14 - Summer 1999

PROGRAM STATUS

The two principal thrusts of the Water Desalination Research & Development (DesalR&D) Program are: (1) to perform research and studies on desalination technologies and related issues to push the state of the art forward so costs can be reduced; and (2) to conduct development and demonstration activities to test technological advancements, confirm economics, and gain public acceptance. The research and studies portion of the program has resulted in the award of many ongoing successful financial assistance agreements (refer to our web site listed below). However, due to reduced funding, the award of demonstration activities scheduled to begin October 1999 is indefinitely postponed. For more information about these and other DesalR&D program activities, contact the program manager, Kevin Price, at (303) 445-2260, or visit the DesalR&D web site at: http://www.usbr.gov/pmts/water/research/DWPR/

PILOT-SCALE SYSTEMS

The fiscal year 1999 proposal solicitation package for Task G, Testing of Pilot-Scale Systems, will be published in the Commerce Business Daily on August 7, 1999 (current information can be found on Reclamation's Acquisition and Assistance Management Services web site at: http://www.usbr.gov/aamsden/index.html).

The goal of Task G is to cost-share design, construction, and testing of pilot-scale systems. These pilot-scale investigations can be an extension (second phase) of existing research work being performed under one of the other research and studies emphasis areas of the program or may stem from other outside research work. In either case, the existing research must have progressed to the point that a pilot-scale investigation is the next logical phase. Sufficient information, in the form of reports and laboratory-scale test data, shall be provided with the proposal describing the results of previous research on the technology. The pilot-scale investigation shall be conducted so that the test results are applicable to a full-scale production desalting plant, or desalting-related technology, at specific site(s) within the US, including the District of Columbia, Guam, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

As a result of this solicitation, Reclamation anticipates the award of approximately two financial assistance agreements on or before January 3, 2000, to two separate cooperators with an anticipated starting date no later than January 4, 2000. Should additional funding become available, an additional award may be made. Any responsible source, to include individuals, educational institutions, commercial or industrial organizations, private entities, public entities (including state and local), or Indian Tribal Governments, may submit a proposal. Federal agencies are not eligible to apply. The duration of these agreements shall be for two years, with work being performed during calendar years 2000 and 2001. Contingent upon Congressional funding, amounts up to $270,000 per award will be made for Reclamation's cost-shared portion as follows: amounts up to $150,000 for the first year for pilot plant design, construction, and installation, and amounts up to $120,000 for the optional second year for testing, repairs, modification, and evaluation. Offerors shall be willing to cost-share 50 percent or more of the project, through in-kind labor and equipment, cash contribution, or combination thereof. Offerors cannot obtain funding from other Federal agencies as a portion of their cost-sharing. Offerors proposing to provide the most cost-sharing will be given greater consideration. Once published, requests for the proposal solicitation package must be made in writing to: Diana Mulligan, Bureau of Reclamation, Acquisition Operations Group, Code D-7810, Denver Federal Center, PO Box 25007, Denver CO 80225; or by facsimile to (303) 445-6345; or by E-mail to dmulligan@do.usbr.gov. Reference the DesalR&D Program Task G Proposal in all requests. Telephone requests will not be honored.

PARTNERSHIPS

The fiscal year 2000 proposal solicitation package for Task H, Partnerships, will also be published in the Commerce Business Daily within the next few weeks (for current information refer to http://www.usbr.gov/aamsden/index.html).

The goal of Task H is to enter into cost-shared partnerships with water research organizations to co-fund others to perform basic and applied research on advanced water treatment processes and desalting technologies and to compete the program funds available for such partnerships within one task rather than among the other research and studies emphasis areas. Only responsible water research organizations dedicated to creating new sources of water through research and technology and who meet the following qualifications may apply: (1) all research activities are monitored by an external research advisory board or council of nationally recognized experts and to which Reclamation will be included as a member during the course of the funding; (2) must be able to show a successful history of working with universities, local, state, and Federal governments, water utilities, international water research organizations, or regulatory agencies; (3) are specifically chartered to perform basic and applied water research to resolve national water issues; and (4) are involved in basic or applied research for advanced water treatment processes or desalting technologies and have successfully performed this research for a minimum of five years at a minimum funding level of $1,000,000 per year. It is expected these funds will support multiple advanced water treatment and desalting technologies research projects of the types listed in the solicitation.

As a result of this solicitation, Reclamation anticipates the award of approximately two cooperative agreements on or before October 29, 1999, to two separate partners with an anticipated starting date no later than November 1, 1999. Should additional funding become available, an additional award may be made. Any responsible water research organization, as described in the solicitation, may submit a proposal. Federal agencies are not eligible to apply. The duration of these agreements shall be for three years, with work being performed during calendar years 2000, 2001, and 2002. Contingent upon Congressional funding, amounts up to $180,000 per award will be awarded for Reclamation's cost-share portion as follows: amounts up to $60,000 for the first year, and amounts up to $60,000 per year for the optional second and third years. Offerors shall be willing to cost-share 50 percent or more of the project through in-kind labor and equipment, cash contribution, or combination thereof. Offerors cannot obtain funding from other Federal agencies as a portion of their cost-sharing. Offerors proposing to provide the most cost-sharing will be given greatest consideration. Once published, requests for the proposal solicitation package must be made in writing to Diana Mulligan, as described under Pilot-Scale Systems. Reference the DesalR&D Program Task H Proposal in all requests. Telephone requests will not be honored.

TECHNOLOGY TRANSFER

As our readers know, in addition to the award of financial assistance agreements, the program provides limited funding to in-house researchers. Two in-house research projects have resulted in new water treatment or desalting technologies. The following are descriptions of the technologies, including contact information.

Photovoltaic/Electrodialysis

For many communities around the world it is necessary to purify brackish water for human consumption at locations where electricity is not available. With the cost of electric power lines ranging from $15,000 - $30,000 per mile, there is need for a low-cost solar desalting system. To address this problem, Reclamation recently developed a solar photovoltaic-powered electrodialysis reversal (PV/EDR) desalting system which has proven to be a cost-effective and reliable solution for remote sites and communities.

The prototype PV/EDR unit was field tested along with a solar-powered pumping system for over 10,000 hours at a remote site near Gallup, NM. During this test period, the desalting system successfully produced 720 gallons of potable water per day, demineralizing 900 mg/L TDS feedwater to 280 mg/L TDS product. Under these conditions, the total power consumed is approximately 95 watts or about 3.1 kWh per 1000 gallons produced. With its low power requirements, the system requires fewer solar panels, which dramatically reduces the cost.

Reclamation is seeking companies interested in commercializing this technology, for which a patent is pending. For more information, contact Mark Lichtwardt at (303) 445-2256 or by E-mail at mlichtwardt@do.usbr.gov.

Nitrate Removal

From a water treatment standpoint, nitrate is a major contaminant of ground and surface waters worldwide. The accumulation of nitrate in the environment can result from non-point source runoff from the over application of fertilizers (manure or chemical), commercial farms to raise pigs and chickens, human sewage, and industrial processes such as paper and munitions manufacturing. Nitrate is highly susceptible to leaching.

The EPA publication entitled Is Your Drinking Water Safe? makes the following statement regarding nitrate: "Only two substances for which standards have been set pose an immediate threat to health whenever they are exceeded: bacteria and nitrate."

Reclamation has developed a new technology that treats nitrate pollution by reducing nitrate (the anion of a strong acid) to nitrite (the anion of a weak acid). Next, by adjusting the pH to near 4, we can then air strip the nitrogen out of the water.

Reclamation is seeking companies interested in commercializing this technology, which is now patented. For more information, contact Andy Murphy at (303) 445-2259 or by E-mail at amurphy@do.usbr.gov.

MAILING LIST

Please direct all mailing list changes, additions, or deletions to Susan Martella at (303) 445-2257.


CONTACT US

Water from Water is published by Reclamation's Water Treatment Engineering and Research Group - Susan Martella, Editor. For more information about the DesalR&D program, contact Kevin Price at: Bureau of Reclamation, 86-69000, PO Box 25007, Denver CO 80225; phone (303) 445-2260; or e-mail a message to MPrice@usbr.gov.