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Professor Recognized for Desalination Technology


Tom Davis, Ph.D.
Tom Davis, Ph.D.
 
Tom Davis, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s Center for Inland Desalination Systems and a nationally recognized desalination expert, is the recipient of an Innovation Award for 2009 in Technology and Product Development for his Zero Discharge Desalination system.

French company Veolia Water, one of the largest water services companies in the world, presented Davis with the prestigious award at a ceremony in Nice, France this month.

Davis was recognized for his invention of a desalination technology that produces less waste.

“In the purification of salty groundwater—abundant around El Paso—the clean, drinkable water passes through a membrane and leaves behind a very salty solution that presents disposal problems,” Davis said. “We have developed a method to take out the salt in a usable form so we can recover more drinking water.” The salt and other byproducts, including gypsum, are then used in other ways, he said.

The award has helped bring international exposure to UTEP and the project that Davis has been working on for five years, he said.

“The award ceremony in Nice essentially allowed us to tell hundreds of key technical people in the company (Veolia) about this technology so that they can be looking for applications wherever the company does business,” he said. “It could potentially be used all over the world where Veolia markets their technologies.”

Davis expects to begin operating a pilot plant in Alamogordo in 2010 that will use the technology, he said.