Northwestern University, a US-based private research university, and BGN Technologies, the technology transfer company of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) in Israel, have formed a joint consortium for the development water-energy technologies.

The US-Israeli consortium, which is named the Collaborative Water-Energy Research Center (CoWERC), has secured funding of $21.4m from the US Department of Energy and Israel’s Ministry of Energy together with the Israel Innovation Authority.

The funding will be used to research, develop and commercialise new technologies in three areas including energy-efficient enhanced water supply, wastewater reuse and resource recovery, and energy-water systems, in a bid address global water challenges.

The new energy-efficient technologies will focus on water desalination, purification and reuse.

CoWERC is part of the US-Israel Energy Center programme

CoWERC is part of the US-Israel Energy Center programme, which is administered by the US-Israel Binational Industrial Research and Development (BIRD) Foundation.

Northwestern’s Center for Water Research director Aaron Packman said: “Water and energy are inextricably linked: water purification and distribution are primary uses of energy, while water is essential for energy production.

“CoWERC will enable us to develop new technologies that will reduce the energy needed for desalination, improve recovery of water and energy, and support safe water reuse.”

The consortium includes partners from leading research institutions, water utilities and private companies.

The US team, which is led by Northwestern University, consists of Argonne National Laboratory, Yale University, DuPont Water Solutions, Evoqua Water Technologies, Hampton Roads Sanitation District (HRSD), Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, CycloPure and Current.

Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research (ZIWR) environmental engineering professor Moshe Herzberg said: “Interestingly, urban wastewater contains more energy than the amount needed for its purification.

“Our aim is to recover this energy, along with nutrients, and reuse the treated water.”