$100 million desalination project to be led by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab

In a effort to widen the use of a nearly limitless — but expensive — source of water for California and other places worldwide that are prone to shortages, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory has been selected to lead a $100 million project aimed at bringing down the cost of desalination.

The money, announced this week and awarded by the U.S. Department of Energy, will fund a research consortium of 19 universities around that the country that include Stanford, UC-Berkeley, UCLA and others, along with 10 private industry partners and other Department of Energy institutions, like Oak Ridge National Lab in Tennessee.

The goal, organizers say, is to reduce the cost of removing salt from ocean water to make it a more viable drinking water source for California and other areas. Closely related, planners also hope to clean up other types of water that are being largely wasted or underused so they can be a source for cities, farms and wildlife.