Water is the new oil. The $425 billion global water sector remains at the forefront of industrial, geopolitical, and social agendas because of a growing supply/demand imbalance and trends in water scarcity, quality, and safety issues. Only 3% of the world’s water is freshwater available to humans and the environment, and water scarcity is a growing problem. By 2025, it is estimated that 1.8 billion will be living in water scarce regions. There is a need to better manage our global freshwater resources, and some argue – even create new water supplies.
Saltwater desalination, a process by which the salt is removed from saltwater, has historically been very energy and capital intensive. However, due to advances in technology, the equipment and systems for producing fresh water from salt water could be a compelling answer to the worry as to whether the world could ever run out of fresh water. Desalination is a $5-$10 billion market that is poised to grow at 10%+.
In Southern California, where water is a treasured resource, a desalination plant is taking shape in Carlsbad, just north of the City of San Diego. When completed in 2012, the $350 million plant will provide enough drinking water for 300,000 residents.
Beginning on December 2nd, the Berkeley Energy & Resources Collaborative will be hosting a conference to highlight the desalination industry. The conference, entitled “Innovation in Desalination: An Answer to Our Water Woes?” will provide thought provoking discussion on what conditions are ripe for desalination solutions as well as technology innovation in the industry.
You can register for the conference here.