The Results About FAQs Timeline Evaluation Rules News & Updates Register now

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 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

  • Brackish agricultural drainage water from the Main Outlet Drain Extension (MODE) canal in Yuma, AZ will be used as the source water for all phases of this prize competition.  
  • Solutions submitted for Phase 1 must be applicable to this source water.  
  • Finalists will be provided a choice of using either MODE RO feed or MODE RO concentrate as a source water during the demonstration testing event.  The water quality does vary. Please see Table 1 and Table 2 for a summary of the most recent water quality analysis for Yuma MODE RO Feed and Yuma MODE RO Concentrate, respectively.  
  • Current state-of-the-art desalination can recover approximately 85% of Yuma MODE water. 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 15% (from primary desalination step).

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 the Yuma Desalting Plant in June 2022 using either Yuma MODE RO feed or Yuma MODE RO Concentrate as a source water.
  • Each finalist will be provided a designated indoor space of approximately 250 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 250 square foot area.
  • Each finalist will be provided 110 V and 480 V 3-phase power at their designated test site.
  • The demonstration event will include 7 continuous days of testing.
  • Setup / mobilization / shakedown and demobilization time will be provided in addition to the 7-day test period.
  • Prototype systems should be sized for 4-20 gpm of feed if using Yuma Mode RO feed, or 1-5 gpm of feed if using Yuma Mode RO concentrate.
  • Feed & concentrate water temperature from June to August is typically between 26-34°C.

Prototype Evaluations

  • Prototype systems will be evaluated by a Demonstration Event Panel using both subjective and objective criteria.
  • Objective criteria will be evaluated using only data collected during the Demonstration Event according to a scoring procedure provided prior to the designation of finalists. Objective criteria will include:
  • ~~ Quantity of remaining concentrate – maximum concentrate remaining should be 15% of Yuma RO Feed
  • ~~ Quantity of product water produced
  • ~~ Quality of product water produced
  • Subjective criteria will be evaluated by the Demonstration Event Panel using a combination of data collected during the Demonstration event, observations, and professional judgement. Subjective criteria will include:
  • ~~ Environmental considerations
  • ~~ Power consumption
  • ~~ Chemical consumption
  • ~~ Footprint
  • ~~ Residuals management approach
  • ~~ Operational complexity
  • ~~ Innovation
  • ~~ Feasibility of full-scale implementation
  • ~~ Cost (capital and O&M)

Table1. Summary of the most recent water quality analysis for Yuma MODE RO feed

Table2. Summary of the most recent water quality analysis for Yuma MODE RO Concentrate