Located at The University of Texas at El Paso, the Center for Inland Desalination Systems (CIDS) is a newly formed center that is studying desalination-related issues such as:
Mining the brine concentrate produced during the desalination process (e.g. reverse osmosis, RO)
Developing small-scale portable desalination equipment to be used in remote locations
Developing processes that maximize energy and water production efficiencies
CIDS builds on a strong foundation of related research already being done by faculty members in geological sciences, chemistry, and civil engineering. CIDS funding is currently a combination of a $2 million grant from the state of Texas through its Emerging Technology Fund; a $2 million grant from the University of Texas system; and matching funds raised by UTEP (goal is $2 million in sponsored research from industry and government partners).
CIDS has several regional partners, including the El Paso Water Utilities Public Service Board, which manages the largest inland desalination facility in the United States. The 27.5 million gallon per day desalination facility is a partnership between the city of El Paso and the Fort Bliss army base. The five-year agreement approved by the Board includes creation of a Center for Excellence in research, education and outreach related to water resource management and inland desalination. Other partnerships include the Consortium for Hi-Technology Investigations in Water and Waste Water (CHIWAWA) and Veolia Water Solutions and Technologies.
Current research direction at CIDS include seawater pilot demonstrations in Libya and highly efficient brackish desalination pilot demonstrations in New Mexico, California, Texas, and Florida. CIDS plans to research technologies and approaches that will maximize the benefits of desalination, while minimizing the input energy and negative environmental impacts.