The Future of Desalination: Graphene and LENR?

Many people who have high hopes for LENR see one of its major applications being a cheap source of power to make possible widespread desalination to provide fresh water in many arid parts of the world. Currently, while desalination is certainly an effective way to make seawater potable, it is an expensive process, mainly because the amount of power required to run the plants.

According to Lockheed Martin, the process of desalination could now become much less expensive, even with conventional energy sources because of a new graphene filter — known as Perforene — that the company is developing.

Graphene, a sheet of pure carbon only one atom thick is sometimes referred to as a miracle material because it is so light, but also incredibly strong — and it is an extremely efficient conductor of heat and electricity. Lockheed Martin are working on building graphene filters that could be used to replace the ones currently used in reverse osmosis desalination plants.

A recent Reuters article discusses the breakthrough technology, and quotes John Stetson, the engineer who has been working on the project.

“[Graphene is] 500 times thinner than the best filter on the market today and a thousand times stronger . . . the energy that’s required and the pressure that’s required to filter salt is approximately 100 times less . . . The amount of work it takes to squeeze that water through the torturous path of today’s best membranes is gone for Perforene, it just literally pops right through because the membrane is thinner than the atoms it’s filtering.”

Notaro said Lockheed expects to have a prototype by the end of the year for a filter that could be used as a drop-in replacement for filters now used in reverse osmosis plants.

The company is looking for partners in the filter manufacturing arena to help it commercialize Perforene as a filter in the 2014-2015 time frame, he said.

Lockheed officials see other applications for Perforene as well, from dialysis in healthcare to cleaning chemicals from the water used in hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” of oil and gas wells.

This is certainly an interesting development, and seems to provide for a desalination solution that is not dependent upon cheaper energy to be effective. Of course, combining graphene and LENR would give you the best of both worlds, but the energy savings from using the Perforene filters alone would be tremendous.

  • The majority of people who live in arid areas also live far from the sea. For them, LENR electric energy plus heat pump might enable condensation of potable water from the atmosphere. Electric energy produced by a 10 kWth E-cat could produce some 500 litres of water per day, enough for a small family with modern lifestyle. The consumed water would mostly evaporate back into atmosphere, so river runoffs and weather patterns would remain mostly unaffected by the scheme.

  • artefact

    From Dottor News Tecnologia

    Fusione fredda: E-cat Rossi prezzi e possibili utilizzi

  • Felis Fervens

    Here’s a link to an article and a “Solve for X” talk on the use of ammonium salts added to the fresh water side of the osmotic barrier.

    Beauty of it is that the salts radically increase osmosis without the pressure normally needed to force water thru the barrier. Later, the salts cam be boiled off at very low temps–perfect application for cold-cat or hot-cat.

  • Luca Salvarani

    1) Of course the e-cat can solve many problems even in this field… but the main problem regarding water furniture is that, almost entirely in the world, it’s made by the government! so it’s absolutely not effective at all and so there are no incentives to increase the effectivness of the service… Here in Italy for examples the water pipes (managed by the government) are consistently leaking an incredible quantity of water (there are even not for profit associations searching the main leaks, expecially in the South where the pipes are absolutely broken with no filtrers to clean it like in Africa)…. I could tell you many real life episodes about this water services societies, all of them public, whose only goal is to provide a wage for lazy public employes no matter what they really do or if they really work at all….
    Maybe before thinking about new “magic” technologies we can figure out how to better use the technologies we already have…. So the main solution is very simple: getting the water services (not the ownership) private! They only have the know-how and the right incentives to solve the problem that the government don’t!
    2) Another great problem is pricing (another bad effect of government intervention)! Here in Italy you pay only a part of the operative cost of the service on the water bill… much of it is covered by general taxation… So you don’t pay a fair price for water and obviously you don’t have the right incentives to use it properly: you pay far less so you overuse it! Actually you don’t even know what is the real operative cost of the service so you can’t measure the performance of the government companies simply making comparisons with other countries: they fear people realise that they’re overpaying the state in exchange for nothing…
    For istance I live in Mantua in the Pianura Padana (near Bologna)… Here there’s a lot of farms that require a lot of water but farmers use very old and ineffective water irrigation sistems due to its mispricing…. So there’s an over exploitation of this scarse resource that affects the reserves and in the future will prevent farming.. One more thank you thief state! Instead of start with futuristic (and thus also expensive) technologies why don’t start from essential layman management?

    • FlanOBrien

      With abundant energy, it is feasible for everything to become private, but the strategy of current abundant energy claimants (secretive squirrel) will mean guberment will expand its control. Abundant energy means more pervasive control is feasible.

      • Luca Salvarani

        You’re absolutely right and this is the very threat of the e-cat: reinforce the state against us, the people!

    • In my experience, government works well. When an activity has been outsourced to a company for “efficiency”, it has typically become about 3 times more expensive.

      • FlanOBrien

        In my experience the public/private debate is baseless. There are useless private organizations (especially in the sector of finance) and there are useless public organizations.

        What counts is whether the operation has an existential risk if it ignores efficiency and service.

        This means any state funded activity tends to be useless because of size, culture and mode of funding. But I grant you Pekka, not all.

        • georgehants


          • Jacob

            In the future it will be at very home to get fresh drinking water.

  • GreenWin

    This is a wonderful focus for immediate humanitarian use of LENR. Unfortunately graphene may not be a part of that use until it is perfected and cost of operation of membrane desal decreases dramatically. But it is an excellent goal, and should be pursued by large scale commercial partners in desalination such as Doosanhydro (bidding for LENR savvy Ansaldo Energia), Sasakura, Aquatech, etc.

    The greatest impediment to mass desal is cost of energy. Thermal desal plants utilizing fossil heat remain expensive at $0.50/m3. Membrane (reverse osmosis w/electric pumps) desal is higher still ~$0.55/m3. However, with LENR heat as the source for MSF (Multi-Stage Flash) desal, cost per cubic meter of irrigation/potable fresh water can be reduced by as much as 90% to $0.05/m3.

    The key is cheap thermal heat. A pilot LENR MSF desal plant is an ideal project to demonstrate an immediate benefit of low cost thermal energy. As the first commercial 1 MW e-cats are installed, design of an LENR MSF demonstration plant becomes feasible. Whoever the Leonardo Inc. partner is, they will find an LENR desal demo project to have many friends.

    • FlanOBrien

      “an excellent goal, and should be pursued by large scale commercial partners”

      As should all large scale applications. A secretive squirrel operation (ecat) will benefit no one fast.

      • NJT

        YES! +1
        Lets hope Mr Rossi’s partners are taking note?

      • GreenWin

        Imagine Flan, if the secret squirrel and the secret skunk were to combine works. You’d never know!

    • Bob

      How can it reduce the cost by 90% when the COP is said to be a maximum of 6? Given this present limit, even if the cost of energy was 100% of the production cost of the desalinated water, then the reduction in cost can be a maximum of 83%, and in reality, the cost of energy in this process, although considerable, is a long way short of 100%.
      I think we could reasonably expect a reduction but it will be a long way short of 90%.

      • Greenwin

        The costs /m3 quoted include overheads (e.g. fuel purchase, delivery, and maintenance) unnecessary if LENR heat is used. So, even using your calc, we are 7% above max. I’ll take 83% savings.

      • ken

        This would be a world changer. How would you clean the filter? Reverse the water direction?


  • Iggy Dalrymple

    Good Site for E-Cat:
    McMurdo Station, Antarctica

    On March 3, 1962, operators activated a nuclear power plant at the station. The plant, like nearby Scott’s Discovery Hut, was prefabricated in modules. Engineers designed the components to weigh no more than 30,000 pounds (13,608 kg) each and to measure no more than 8 ft 8 inches by 8 ft 8 inches by thirty feet. A single core no larger than an oil drum served as the heart of the nuclear reactor. These size and weight restrictions were intended to allow the reactor to be delivered in an LC-130 Hercules aircraft. However, the components were actually delivered by vessel. The reactor generated 1.8 MW of electrical power and reportedly replaced the need for 1,500 US gallons (5,700 L) of oil daily. Engineers applied the reactor’s power, for instance, in producing steam for the salt water distillation plant. The U.S. Army Nuclear Power Program decommissioned the plant in 1972. After the nuclear power station was no longer operational, conventional diesel generators were used. There were a number of 500 kW diesel generators located in a central powerhouse providing electric power. A conventionally fueled water desalination plant provided fresh water.

    • Indeed McMurdo station is located on Ross Island = Rossi’s Land.

  • Andre Blum

    old stuff. please ignore. clicked wrong on JONP

  • georgehants

    A small victory for common sense, Truth and Me.
    All we need now is for scientific medicine to start aggressively researching something very powerful that has been known for thousands of years.
    Time for Science to stop the blind following of their negative “opinion experts” and do SCIENCE, the only principle of which is to find the TRUTH and one can only do that with open-minded, competent, RESEARCH following the EVIDENCE.
    It could even happen with Cold Fusion one day.
    From the BBC.
    21 March 2013 Last updated at 02:05
    ‘Most family doctors’ have given a patient a placebo drug
    By Michelle Roberts Health editor, BBC News online.
    Most family doctors have given a placebo to at least one of their patients, survey findings suggest.
    In a poll, 97% of 783 GPs admitted that they had recommended a sugar pill or a treatment with no established efficacy for the ailment their patient came in with.
    The PLOS One study authors say this may not be a bad thing – doctors are doing it to help, not to deceive patients.
    The Royal College of GPs says there is a place for placebos in medicine.

  • georgehants

    Gizmodo Australia
    Access to steady supplies of clean water is getting more and more difficult in the developing world, especially as demand skyrockets. In response, many countries have turned to the sea for potable fluids but existing reverse osmosis plants rely on complicated processes that are expensive and energy-intensive to operate.
    Good thing, engineers at Lockheed Martin have just announced a newly-developed salt filter that could reduce desalination energy costs by 99 percent.
    Lockheed is reportedly already ramping up production efforts for the filters — and trying to find a way to keep them from tearing — though there are no announced plans on when they’d hit the market. Tomorrow isn’t soon enough.

  • georgehants

    March 21st, 2013 at 4:54 AM
    Hi Dr. Rossi,
    Is the Third party test finishing this week? or they still need more time for more thoroughly study.
    Andrea Rossi
    March 21st, 2013 at 5:19 AM
    Dear John:
    I do not know. They are working by themselves. The tests were scheduled to finish this week, though.
    Warm Regards,

    • georgehants

      New Scientist
      INVENTORS in the US have caught up with the rest of the world – but many don’t like it.
      Until last week the US Patent and Trademark Office ran a first-to-invent system. Date-stamped notes proved when a gadget was invented, trouncing any rival who might have filed first.
      The rest of the world’s patent offices operate a first-to-file system, in which the first inventor to file a valid patent gets the rights to the idea. To simplify patenting in global markets, on 16 March the US came into line with the rest of the world, and now operates a first-to-file system.
      Small inventors complain that the loss of date stamping will help mega corporations invent around their ideas and patent first.
      But that happens already, says Peter Finnie, a patent attorney in London: “First-to-invent favoured major corporations too because they are the ones with the resources to accurately record their work and get it legally countersigned|NSNS|2012-GLOBAL|online-news

    • Silvio Balatelli

      The tests were scheduled to finish this week

      still doing tests ? I thought they are in the phase of peer reviewing. Peer reviewers don´t do tests, they only examine reports and possibly would request additional tests from the research team. If they are still testing, would means we are months away from a publication.
      What do we know that these tests have actually taken place, other than “Rossi says”?

  • Rob Lewis