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Technical Guidelines

Create a more competitive submission.

In order to be competitive, your submission should describe how your solution will meet these technical guidelines:


  • Solutions shall be applicable to treating concentrate produced by an inland desalination facility leading to a decrease in the volume of concentrate requiring disposal.
  • Solutions shall increase freshwater recovery (recovery > 80%) and solutions that produce additional high-quality water will be viewed more favorably.
  • Solutions shall be applicable to municipal scale desalination facilities.
  • Solutions shall not create additional or more hazardous waste (in volume and complexity) compared with concentrate that is currently being produced.
  • Solutions shall provide cost effective approaches for reducing concentrate volumes in inland desalination facilities.
  • Solutions shall fit within the demonstration testing parameters as provided below.
  • Conventional solutions to concentrate disposal such as discharge (ocean, surface water, sewer, etc.), deep well injection and evaporation ponds are not of interest for this prize competition.

Water Quality

  • Water from Well #2 at Reclamation’s Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility (BGNDRF) located in Alamogordo, NM will be used as the sample brackish groundwater for all phases of this prize competition.  
  • Solutions submitted for Phase 1 must be applicable to this source water.  
  • Finalists will be provided this same source water during the demonstration testing event.
  • See Table 1 for a summary of the most recent water quality analysis for BGNDRF Well #2.
  • Detailed historical Well #2 water quality data can be found on the BGNDRF website here.
  • Current state-of-the-art desalination can recover approximately 80% of BGNDRF Well #2 feed.  This competition is seeking solutions that reduce the volume of concentrate remaining from the state-of-the-art desalination.  Solvers must reduce the volume of concentrate below the remaining 20% (from primary desalination step).

Table 1. Summary of the most recent water quality analysis for BGNDRF Well #2

To view the full water quality analysis, click here.

Prototyping Phase

  • Finalists selected from the initial submissions will be asked to meet several milestones during the approximately eleven-month prototyping phase.  Continued payment of finalist awards is contingent on successfully meeting each milestone within the specified time period.
  • The full requirements of each milestone and due dates for each will be provided prior to the designation of finalists.
  • A first milestone will require each finalist to provide a detailed schematic diagram of the proposed solution, along with a detailed mass and energy balance.
  • A second milestone will require each finalist to demonstrate that progress is being made towards a working prototype.  Finalists will also be required to provide details of their prototype system to ensure that the system fits within the constraints of the demonstration test event.  These details will include (but are not limited to) items such as footprint, height, power requirements, noise, air emissions, types and quantities of chemicals, etc.
  • Prior to the demonstration event, finalists may be required to complete agreements related to the use of the demonstrate event facilities, including a job hazard analysis.

Demonstration Event

  • Finalists will demonstrate their prototype systems at BGNDRF in June 2022 using Well #2 feed water.
  • Each finalist will be provided a designated outdoor space of approximately 700 square feet for their prototype system.  Raw water feed tanks, product water tanks, concentrate tanks, and solids bins will be provided to each finalist outside of this 700 square foot area.
  • Each finalist will be provided 120 V and 208 V power at their designated test site.
  • The demonstration event will include at least one 24-hour continuous test period, with time provided prior to the test period for finalists to install and adjust their prototype system.
  • Approximately 7,200 gallons per day (5 gpm) of Well #2 feed water will be provided to each finalist over each 24-hour test period.
  • Prototype systems will be evaluated by a Demonstration Event Panel using both subjective and objective criteria, including (but not limited to) to the following criteria:
  • ~~  Quantity and quality of remaining concentrate
  • ~~  Quantity and quality of product water
  • ~~  Quantity and composition of solids produced
  • ~~  Power consumption
  • ~~  Chemical consumption
  • ~~  Operational complexity
  • ~~  Feasibility of operation and implementation at full scale, including economic and environmental considerations