Research, development and demonstration


Both desalination and renewable energy technologies have individually been the subject of extensive research and development. This third work stream focuses on the research, development, and demonstration needed to cost-effectively combine these technologies for reduced carbon footprint in water production.

Improvements to either energy production or water production technologies can help to reduce the overall global warming potential of desalination processes. The work stream will identify key opportunities in each area. Desalination systems themselves have seen steady improvements in energy efficiency over the past decades, and recent research and development have continued progressive reductions in the energy demand at a system level. For energy generation systems, the work stream will specifically explore needs in RD&D that would have implications for desalination systems. In particular, rapidly falling costs of renewable energy systems have radically transformed the potential for cost-effective, large scale, low carbon desalination.

Proposed activities

  • Assess the technologies 

  • Analyse the environmental, social and economic impact of desalination 

  • Conduct an in-depth study on:

    • Ongoing Research Development & Demonstration (RD&D) activities with high relevance to market expansion and policy development (Workstream 1 and Workstream 2), assessing the expected results and quantifying the potential impact;

    • Current incentives, budgets and facilities for RD&D with high relevance to market expansion and policy development (Workstream 1 and Workstream 2)

    • Additional required or desired incentives for RD&D, investments, and potential funding sources to enable the pathway developed by WS1 and technologies identified by WS2.


Definition and implementation of these activities are undertaken by GCWDA work stream 3 under the leadership of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.


© 2018 by the Global Clean Water Desalination Alliance.