Lead Mentor: Carlos Romero, Energy Research Center


2024 Impact Fellows: 

Alejandro Guzman ‘27
Aristeidis Koutsopoulos ‘27
Sophia Wolfarth ‘27
Jon Osika '25
Zach Ostrand '26


Project Description:

Four billion people — half of the world's population — experience severe water scarcity for at least one month each year. By 2030 there will be a 40% reduction in the world’s freshwater resources and by 2042 it's estimated that the demand for desalinated water will double. Desalination is a technologically-viable approach to bolstering global water security by converting the world’s largest reservoir of water, the ocean, into an alternative water supply. However, traditional large-scale desalination plants require tremendous amounts of energy, and need significant capital investment, physical space, expertise, and operating and maintenance costs to operate properly. This team will continue work on how low-temperature Direct Contact Membrane Distillation (DCMD) technology can be harnessed to build affordable and modular desalination systems to retrofit existing desalination facilities into hybrid facilities with lower energy use and higher freshwater recovery. One sub-team will conduct lab research and build prototypes, while the other sub-team will explore how the technology can be productized, field-tested, and ultimately commercialized in collaboration with various partners in the Philippines.