Sunny Jiang, professor and chair of civil & environmental engineering, will lead efforts at UCI to develop distributed water desalination and reuse technologies as part of a new U.S. Department of Energy-supported hub. Anne Lemnitzer / UCI

The U.S. Department of Energy has selected the National Alliance for Water Innovation – a public-private partnership with more than 35 members, including UCI – to lead an energy and desalination hub addressing water security issues in the U.S. The organization will conduct early-stage research and development on energy-efficient and cost-competitive water treatment technologies. “Desalination and water reuse are important parts of the research portfolio at UCI,” said project leader Sunny Jiang, professor and chair of civil & environmental engineering. “We’re looking forward to working with the team of innovative researchers from national labs, top universities and industrial partners on this important challenge. I am confident that the hub will lead to significant advances in clean water and energy technologies.” The NAWI team will focus on developing new approaches to treating seawater, brackish water and produced waters to help meet municipal, industrial, agricultural, utility and other water supply needs. Jiang said that much of the work done at UCI will center on creating distributed desalination and reuse methods that are autonomous, precise, resilient, intensified, modular and electrified. Congress appropriated $40 million for the hub, which is led by the DOE’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. An additional $34 million in cost-share funds will be contributed by public and private stakeholders.