GE ecomagination and Aramco Entrepreneurship have launched an
open global technology
challenge to accelerate
the development of solutions focused on improving the energy
efficiency of seawater desalination, officials said on
The $200,000 challenge will be awarded to four winners with a
prize of $50,000 each, and further investments towards
commercialization of the best ideas among all submissions
will be considered.
Current desalination techniques are typically very energy
intensive: energy consumption can account for up to 70% of
the desalination costs. The global production of desalinated
water uses approximately 75.2 terawatt-hours of electricity
per year, enough to power nearly 7 million homes.
The goal of this challenge is to identify novel ways to lower
these costs around the world, either through technology
improvements, or both.
Finding a more efficient method of desalinating
seawater will be a game-changer in our collective pursuit of
a more sustainable energy future across the globe," said
Nabil Al-Khowaiter, the Aramco Entrepreneurships
director of special project
s. Due to increased water
scarcity, countries around the world are poised to rely more
and more heavily on desalination as a means to provide fresh
water. With current techniques, this increased reliance could
contribute dramatically to increased energy use.
"Aramco Entrepreneurship is partnering with GE not only to
identify new solutions to lowering desalination costs, but
also to invest in and attract new technologies and industries
to Saudi Arabia.
GE ecomagination is investing to speed up the
development of more sustainable solutions for water
desalination, said Deb Frodl, GEs global executive
director for its ecomagination business. "Through this
challenge, we hope to inspire scientists, engineers,
entrepreneurs, and innovators around the world to bring their
talents to this effort and help drive greater outcomes for
The open innovation challenge aims to identify new solutions
to lower total desalination costs and emissions
through: cleaner energy
sources; incorporating advanced materials; and integrating
processes better. Solutions must be innovative, impactful,
feasible and scalable across the globe.