HydroRevolution, a California subsidiary of WaterFX, announced that they have filed a Direct Public Offering (DPO) to finance the construction of a solar thermal powered desalination plant in California’sCentral Valley. Water produced by the plant is fully committed and will be purchased by local water agencies for deliveries beginning in late 2016. By using the sun to recycle a nearly limitless source of saltwater back into usable freshwater, HydroRevolutionSM is developing a sustainable and reliable water supply for California. Once constructed, it will be the largest solar thermal desalination plant in North America.
The HydroRevolution plant is the first commercial solar thermal desalination plant to be constructed in California. At full scale, the plant will occupy up to 100 acres of land in the Panoche Water and Drainage District and produce 5,000 acre-feet of freshwater per year, enough water to satisfy 10,000 homes or irrigate 2,000 acres of cropland.
The system is capable of treating water with greater than 90% recovery rate, isolating salt and mineral by-products for downstream commercial uses. The plant expands on the demonstration project operated by WaterFX™ in 2013 in the Panoche Water and Drainage District. The expansion will utilize clean, solar energy to treat irrigation drainage water from 6,000 acres of salt-impaired cropland and generate a new supply of freshwater for the district. WaterFX is providing the technology for the project and will service and operate the plant through a partnership with ATSI Engineering.
Unlike conventional desalination plants, HydroRevolution will not treat seawater; rather it will draw from a replenishing supply of shallow irrigation water, known as subsurface drainage water, which has previously been unusable. Irrigation drainage water is a natural consequence of agricultural activities but poses a serious threat to cropland, wildlife and waterways in the Central Valley as its high salinity content can damage freshwater ecosystems. By treating this source of water, HydroRevolution will help farmers solve two difficult problems: obtaining a consistent and reliable source of freshwater and restoring impaired ecosystems. Without this solution, an additional 10% of farmland in California will have to be retired every year to create additional storage for untreated drainage water.
Behind the HydroRevolution plant is the Aqua4™ technology, a concentrated solar still developed by WaterFX™, that harnesses the energy from the sun to produce thermal energy, which powers the distillation process. As the solar receivers capture solar thermal energy, mineral oil is heated and carries thermal energy to the heat pump that optimizes energy efficiency and feeds heat to a multi-effect distillation system (MED). The MED evaporates freshwater from the water source and the condensate is recovered in the form of purified water. The system is capable of freshwater recovery rates higher than 90%, the remaining brine is further treated to isolate salt and mineral by-products and eliminate liquid discharge.
The company is issuing $10 million of preferred equity and anticipates raising $20 million in debt financing for the construction of the project. In keeping with the company’s open source philosophy, participation in the HydroRevolution project is open to theCalifornia public and the company will be majority owned by California residents upon close of the campaign. The investment is also open to organizations, foundations and corporations based in California.
The company is offering up to 2,000,000 shares of Series A Preferred stock at a price of $5 per share. The HydroRevolution DPO has several investment benefits, including a fixed annual yield, just like a public stock dividend, and protections that ensure proceeds are only deployed for construction of the plant. The minimum investment in HydroRevolutionSM is $2,000 (400 shares) for non-accredited investors and $5,000 (1,000 shares) for accredited investors. The stock is non-voting and provides a 6% annual dividend. Proceeds from the DPO are to be held in a third party managed impound account until the company meets pre-determined conditions. The DPO campaign will run for a period of up to one year, but may be terminated early once the offering has been fully subscribed.
ST Staff Writers
This post was prepared by Solar Thermal Magazine staff.