Bio-inspired Desalination for Off-Grid Water Treatment (UC Berkeley)

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Bio-inspired desalination for off-grid water treatment

Access to clean water is a luxury many of us take for granted. Yet, millions of people worldwide are not so lucky. Our team will use existing infrastructure and familiarity with solar technologies, off-grid, bio-inspired desalination through synthetic transpiration to help enable the provision of clean water access to nearly 75 million households in India alone. Synthetic transpiration is a bio-inspired desalination technology that requires no external energy inputs besides sunlight. Mimicking water transport mechanisms found in mangrove trees, this technology uses sunlight to induce water evaporation, which serves as the driving force for filtration. Evaporated water is then condensed as drinkable water. The technology is enhanced by the use of graphene-oxide based nanomaterials that increase evaporation rates and augment passive water transport throughout the technology. This technology is being implemented in southern India to combat groundwater salinization that is causing widespread hypertension throughout urban areas.

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Blum Center for Developing Economies
The University of California, Berkeley
Blum Hall, #5570
Berkeley, CA 94720-5570
(510) 643-5316 • blumcenter@berkeley.edu
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Host and Fellow Responsibilities

Host Organizations

  • Identify staff supervisor to manage I&E Climate Action Fellow
  • Submit fellowship description and tasks
  • Engage in the matching process
  • Mentor and advise students
  • Communicate with Berkeley program director and give feedback on the program.

Berkeley Program Director​

  • Communicate with host organizations, students, and other university departments to ensure smooth program operations

Student Fellows

  • Complete application and cohort activities
  • Communicate with staff and host organizations
  • Successfully complete assignments from host organization during summer practicum
  • Summarize and report summer experience activities post-fellowship