Solar Desalination Prize Round 2 Quarterfinalists Get To Work Building Teams

Oct. 28 Teaming Webinar Offers Potential Partners the Opportunity To Learn About Winning Concepts, Network With Quarterfinalists

Oct. 20, 2021

A graphic of the United States showing locations for the quarterfinalist winners for the Solar Desal Prize
The 12 quarterfinalists from Round 2 of the Solar Desalination Prize were chosen from all across the U.S.

Twelve quarterfinalists have been named in the second round of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Solar Desalination Prize. Chosen for their innovative approaches to desalinating water using solar energy, the quarterfinalists must now assemble teams to begin transforming their ideas into reality.

On Oct. 28 at 12 p.m. ET, the public is invited to join the Solar Desalination Prize Round 2 Virtual Teaming Event, which will feature representatives from the 12 quarterfinalist teams presenting their winning concepts. The event will offer the opportunity for participants to network with teams, businesses, and individuals, ranging from representatives from testing facilities to water treatment experts.

The Teaming Event will also include featured keynote guest speaker Gavin van Tonder, water sector head of NEOM (an innovative project that will construct a cross-border city in Saudi Arabia), and a representative from the International Desalination Association. 

The American-Made Challenges: Solar Desalination Prize is a four-phase competition designed to accelerate the development of low-cost desalination systems that use solar-thermal power. The goal is to tap into currently unusable stores of highly saline water to ensure a reliable supply of clean water.

Quarterfinalists from seven states were announced on Sept. 28, at the end of the first contest—Innovation. The second contest, Teaming, challenges the quarterfinalists to form teams and refine plans for a fully operational solar-thermal desalination system by February 2022. To advance to the third contest, Design, each competitor will need to demonstrate that their group has the necessary expertise and resources to build an operational prototype of their concept.

The second round of the Solar Desalination Prize was launched in April of 2021 in response to high interest and continued opportunities for technology development. Round 1 was launched in April 2020.

Round 2 teams that make it through the Teaming Contest will receive $250,000 in cash and a $100,000 voucher that can be redeemed at a national laboratory and/or qualified partner facility to design their systems. While teams are completing detailed designs of their systems in the Design Contest, they must also obtain the permitting and approval documentation necessary to build them.


  • Artic Solar: Engineered Solar-Thermal Osmosis
    Jacksonville, Florida
  • AeroShield: Transparent Aerogels To Improve Solar Thermal
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
  • Sunvapor: Solar Cascading Evaporation Process
    Pasadena, California
  • Team Trident: TSSE-ZLD Treatment of Produced Water
    Santa Barbara, California
  • Physical Sciences: Modular Inexpensive Solar Thermal Evaporative Desal 
    Andover, Massachusetts
  • ORNL Solar Desalination: Modular Intensified Solar-Desal Technology
    Oak Ridge, Tennessee
  • Winston Cone Optics: Portable Optics for Solar Heat
    Merced, California
  • Winston Cone Optics: Integrated Compound Parabolic Concentrator
    Merced, California
  • Planet A Energy: Solar Heat Collector With Built-In Storage
    Pasadena, California
  • SolMem: Solar NZLD
    Houston, Texas
  • D&D Manufacturing: Concentrated Solar Multi-Effect Distillation
  • Fletcher, North Carolina
  • Frontier Research Group: Clouds & Rain: Optimum Solar Thermal Desalination
    San Marcos, Texas

The Solar Desalination Prize is one of 26 prizes in DOE’s American-Made Challenges, a series of competitions focused on attracting the nation's entrepreneurs to help strengthen American leadership in energy innovation and domestic manufacturing. Competitors will have access to the American-Made Network, a group of national laboratories, incubators, investors, and industry experts. The network provides industry expertise, access to private capital, and local capabilities to accelerate the development and commercialization of competitors' innovations.

The Solar Desalination Prize is sponsored by DOE’s Solar Energy Technologies Office and is administered by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory.

Learn more about the Solar Desalination Prize and register for the Teaming Event.