Oasys Water Aims to Make Desalination Cheap Enough to Crack Mainstream Market, Relieve Shortages

3/2/09

We hear a lot about the bioengineered enzymes, switch grass, and multiple feedstocks needed to provide the massive amounts of raw material for the clean energy era. Another key ingredient is water—and lots of it. So after launching clean energy firms in recent years, entrepreneur Aaron Mandell started Cambridge, MA-based Oasys Water last year. Oasys, which announced a $10 million financing last month, is commercializing desalinization technology that he hopes will curb shortages of drinking water in the U.S. and abroad.

Mandell has co-founded alternative energy firms GreatPoint Energy and AltaRock Energy. GreatPoint Energy, based in Cambridge, requires lots of water in its process to turn coal and other feedstocks into natural gas. AltaRock, headquartered in Sausalito, CA, with an office in Seattle, plans to pump cold water deep into the ground where geothermal heat would turn it into steam to power electricity-generating turbines.

“If you look at a lot of alternative energy processes, they are more water intensive than a lot of traditional energy processes,” Mandell, CEO of Oasys Water, says. “So water becomes as much of a valuable energy resource as coal, or oil, or natural gas.”

Mandell formed Oasys last June with technology invented at Yale University and seed money from GreatPoint Ventures, a Cambridge venture development firm where he is a managing partner and co-founder. Xconomy noted last month that Oasys raised $10 million in a first round of venture financing led by Flagship Ventures of Cambridge, Advanced Technology Ventures in Waltham, MA, and Silicon Valley’s Draper Fisher Jurvetson.

Mandell’s explanation of Oasys’ technology brought me back … Next Page »

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  • Michael Hawes

    Actually, best practice in large SWRO plants is Singapore’s Hyflux plant, which runs at about 49c per 1000 cubic metre, powered by oil. The wind-powered SWRO plant in Perth runs around 75c per cu.m. One could expect lower costs in new plants due to the new low energy SWRO membranes now available.

  • Tony Smith

    I am attempting to create a missions outreach project to provide desalination systems to third world nations in need of fresh water.
    I would appreciate any guidance, assistance or involvement with this project.

    Thank you
    Tony Smith