Fresh water is a limited resource. People need fresh water, but climate changes, depleted aquifers, and cities in deserts mean there isn’t enough. Solution: separate salt from the water in saltwater. This is not new, but the scale is much greater now. Like nuclear power, though to a lesser extent, it works but has unresolved consequences.
- It uses a lot of energy.
- It creates a lot of salty water that must be disposed of, which is expensive and damaging to the environment.
- It alters the environment in the vicinity of the intake, and must filter out sea life.
Buckytubes and graphene offer lower cost and lower energy solutions, but are probably years away. Need will drive adoption, even ahead of resolution.