Sea solutions

Solar-energy system will help protect ecosystems of terminus lakes

A new system is being developed at the University of Nevada, Reno, that may help protect the quality of terminus lakes worldwide through the use of renewable energy.

The new system will desalinate water using a specialized low-cost solar pond and a patented membrane-distillation system powered by renewable energy, according to a press release from UNR. Hundreds of lakes worldwide, including the Great Salt Lake, the Salton Sea and the Aral Sea have seen a decline in water levels and an increase in salinity from human and natural processes, said Francisco Suarez, a doctoral student in hydrological sciences at the university.

Suarez is working on developing a process that traps solar heat at the bottom of the solar pond, creating enough energy to power the distillation system.

The system is designed to help sustain the ecosystems of closed-basin lakes with no water outflow and high evaporation rates, which leaves a high concentration of minerals and salts.