The St Andrews Prize for the Environment

University of St Andrews


2013 Finalist

The Cryodesalination Project

The Cryodesalination Project

Saltwater Desalination by Freezing

Our planet is experiencing a severe water crisis. About one out of every six people living today – nearly a billion people - do not have adequate access to water. Water is scarce in numerous regions of the world and many suffer from perpetual shortages. According to estimates, fifteen years from now, two thirds of the world will be water deprived.

The CryoDesalination process produces fresh water by desalinating seawater, brackish water, or any water containing minerals. It achieves this transformation by using a radically novel freezing process using the naturally occurring phenomenon that ice formed from saltwater is salt free.

CryoDesalination has lower investment and operating costs and greater environmental friendliness than any existing thermal or membrane desalination process. It is not burdened by the capacity limitations that restrain these systems. Unlike other processes that require replication of multiple units to achieve large capacities, this process can be scaled-up. Thus, the CryoDesalination process has a huge economic advantage because economies of scale yield major reductions in capital investment. With CryoDesalination, the larger the plant, the smaller the unit cost. At the same time, the simplicity of the process also permits manufacture of small units, looking much like air conditioners. CryoDesalination can thus bring relief to a multiplicity of needs – at various capacity levels.

Immediate goals involve optimisation and resolving some remaining technical details, testing of saline water effluents from different locations, and then making a massive effort to have the process implemented. This involves different groups for various capacity levels:

The CryoDesalination team will help spread the word about the process and will sustain CryoDesalination on its mission of providing water to the millions who are in need.

 More information can be found at

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