Cost Effective Seawater Desalination with ICP Element Arrays

EPA Contract Number: EPD12026
Title: Cost Effective Seawater Desalination with ICP Element Arrays
Investigators: Kim, Sung-Jae
Small Business: Okeanos Technologies, LLC
EPA Contact: Manager, SBIR Program
Phase: I
Project Period: March 1, 2012 through August 31, 2012
Project Amount: $79,738
RFA: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) - Phase I (2012) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) , SBIR - Drinking Water Treatment and Monitoring


Okeanos Technologies is developing a desalination system that uses Ion Concentration Polarization (ICP) elements and modular arrays. ICP can separate water from solutes and contaminants far more efficiently than reverse osmosis (RO) or electrodialysis (ED) because no extreme hydraulic pressures or heat sources are needed. This improved efficiency translates into order-of-magnitude savings in operational costs ($0.20/1000 L product water for ICP vs. $2-$10/1000 L for RO and ED); suitability for alternative energy powered/off-grid operation; and appropriateness for remote, developing and/or disaster stricken areas. The ability of ICP to create water of potable quality with an order-of-magnitude cost savings and (a) its ability to remove a broad array of contaminants (salts, microorganisms, macro/microscopic debris, etc.); (b) its entirely non-toxic construction; (c) its capability of being operated with renewable energy sources (low power consumption); and (d) the simplicity and low maintenance of the system make ICP especially suitable for the developed world with direct implications for improving public health. With modular construction and scaling of cost benefits with respect to output, ICP is projected to out-compete RO and ED in developed, municipal settings as well, with implications for the amelioration of upside-down budgets created in part due to high energy expenses for public utilities. We already have demonstrated proof-of-principle with a 1.0 version of the Okeanos WaterChip™ ICP Array Element and recently have developed a highly parallelized, industrial-scale, commercial-grade 2.0 version capable of significant water production rates. In this Phase I SBIR project, we propose to finish our work on this 2.0 version, specifically to augment the design of the element to optimize performance and ensure that our ion-selective interface structure will be robust to constant water flows over time.

Supplemental Keywords:

Desalination, drinking water monitoring, drinking water treatment, electrodialysis, ion concentration polarization, reverse osmosis, SBIR

Progress and Final Reports:

  • Final Report
  • SBIR Phase II:

    Cost Effective Seawater Desalination with FICP Element Arrays  | Final Report