Research Grants/Fellowships/SBIR

A Solar-powered, Sustainable, Hybrid Electrodialysis/Reverse Osmosis Desalination System for Rural Areas of Developing Countries

EPA Grant Number: SU835310
Title: A Solar-powered, Sustainable, Hybrid Electrodialysis/Reverse Osmosis Desalination System for Rural Areas of Developing Countries
Investigators: Nossoni, Goli , Abulencia, James Patrick , Braxtan, Nicole Leo , Gallardo, Susan
Current Investigators: Nossoni, Goli , Abulencia, James Patrick , Gallardo, Ronald , Gallardo, Susan , Markes, Kiley , Martinez, Helmer , Piazza, Alessandra , Qasim, Mohammad
Institution: Manhattan College , De La Salle University-Manila
EPA Project Officer: Lank, Gregory
Project Period: August 15, 2012 through August 14, 2013
Project Amount: $14,950
RFA: P3 Awards: A National Student Design Competition for Sustainability Focusing on People, Prosperity and the Planet (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Pollution Prevention/Sustainable Development , P3 Challenge Area - Water , P3 Awards , Sustainability


Rural communities in developing countries face the challenge of obtaining clean, drinkable water. To this end, a multi-stage hybrid electrodialysis/reverse osmosis (ED/RO) process was designed to separate salt from seawater. Each stage is comprised of electrodes separated by concrete of a prescribed thickness, which attract positive and negative ions from the bulk solution.

The proposed project intends to improve the health and welfare of the people by providing clean drinking water, increase the economic prosperity of the community by using locally produced and inexpensive materials in the proposed system, and ensure the future environment of the planet by lessening the demand on the limited freshwater sources through the utilization of energy efficient membrane methods for desalination driven by renewable (solar) energy.


The objective of the research is to use concrete as a permeable membrane in a hybrid ED/RO desalination method. Concrete can be produced locally and with recycled material, and the power required for ED can be supplied by a solar panel. This design is environmentally friendly, inexpensive, and easy to produce, assemble, operate, and maintain.


The proposed research is interdisciplinary and involves chemical engineering, civil engineering, and electrical engineering. Optimization of the concrete mix design, pore size and thickness will be done in the concrete laboratory. The ED/OR system flow rate and the desired composition of the product water will be optimized in the chemistry laboratory. Finally, the circuit design to minimize the required energy will be performed by an electrical engineer.

Expected Results:

The expected result is to effectively desalinate seawater using solar energy. The removal efficiency will be determined by measuring input and effluent salt concentration using conductivity measurements. A successful outcome will be defined as a 3 log reduction of NaCl between input and effluent. The successful development and design of a hybrid ED/RO desalination system will have a significant impact on society because it is broad and applicable in many developing nations.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 1 publications for this project

Progress and Final Reports:
Final Report