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Low-Energy Water Desalination From Seawater Greenhouse

greenhouse_wl_2423.jpgThreehundred twenty-six million trillion! It sounds like a number I would come up with as a kid, say, in reference to the number of things I find disgusting about my sister, or the number of reasons I need a new bike, or the number of mosquito bites I got on a weekend camping trip. But, it turns out, 326 million trillion is a real number. It happens to be (approximately—because who could count them all?) the number of gallons of water on our wonderful planet (Earth). That’s an overwhelming, impressive and — when you learn that 98% of that water is ocean water, and therefore too salty to consume, or use for irrigation — frustrating figure!

In these times where climate chaos has caused more frequent severe droughts, and our population continues to grow (read: consume water) at an awesome rate, people are becoming more and more concerned with water conservation. Humanity finds itself increasingly at a loss for freshwater while roughly 315 million trillion gallons of unusable seawater taunts us from our shores.

Sure, desalination plants are becoming more common. They are very expensive, however, and so energy intensive that they only further contribute to the climate change they are attempting remedy (thereby, joining corn-based ethanol as the two largest non-solutions to our climate problems).

Fear not my fellow water-loving earthlings! There is an even better way to remove the salt from salt water: a Seawater Greenhouse! This UK-based company explains the process as one that:

uses seawater to cool and humidify the air that ventilates the greenhouse and sunlight to distill fresh water from seawater. This enables the year round cultivation of high value crops that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to grow in hot, arid (conditions).

The overall process produces water at the energy cost of less than 3kWh/m3. I can think of 326 million trillion reasons to get excited about this solution! For more information on the Seawater Greenhouse visit

Image: Seawater Greenhouse, Tenerife, Canary Islands. Source: Seawater Greenhouse Gallery

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is an Environmental/Political cartoonist for Planetsave, Elephant Journal, Wend Magazine, Twilight Earth, Ecopolitology, EcoSnobberySucks, and more... Joe also does a kids enviro-toon called Hank D and the Bee on EcoChildsPlay and NaturalPapa. Joe lives in University City, Missouri and spends his free time with his beautiful wife, enthusiastic daughter, and curious toddler of the same name. He also enjoys writing, drawing, painting, walking, biking, skateboarding, gardening, reading, listening to music, playing sports, and watching plays (especially the plays his wife's site-specific theatre company, Onsite Theatre puts on).   Visit Joe's online cartoon gallery at


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