FOURCE: a technique for reducing the salinity of brackish water

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The Fource project created by Lodewijk Stuyt from Alterra and PhD candidate Melle Nikkels from Wageningen University has won first prize at Water Republic x SAIL 2015 Innovation Edition. In Pakhuis de Zwijger, situated on the bank of the IJ in Amsterdam, three very diverse projects were selected from the 25 entries competing for the innovation prizes for water in the broadest sense of the word. Fource managed to secure first prize.

Fource is a ‘Standalone Farm Water Salinity Reducer’, a technique used to make shallow, brackish water suitable for agricultural purposes. The aim is to make food production less vulnerable to salinisation, a problem that is becoming increasingly serious throughout the world.

“Fource is a technique that we use to reduce the salinity of brackish water,” says Lodewijk Stuyt. “We can’t turn it into freshwater, but we can reduce the salinity so that it is suitable for land-based irrigated agriculture. Mild desalinisation is often enough to enable farming in areas that would otherwise be unsuitable or are in jeopardy of increased salinisation. People assume that water for agriculture must be entirely fresh, but this isn’t the case. A bit of salt is okay so in some areas, an instrument like Fource, which ‘trims’ the salinity, can make the difference between being able to produce food and not being able to produce food.”

The underlying mild desalinisation technique was developed by the company Voltea. The idea of extending the technique for use in farming comes from Lodewijk Stuyt. Winning first prize will allow Stuyt and Nikkels to continue developing Fource beyond the current prototype stage. Fource previously came second in the Dutch round of Climate-KIC and went on to take part in the European Climate-KIC in Valencia.

More information about Fource.

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