Nanophotonic-Enabled Solar Membrane Distillation (NESMD)

Developed with Rice University and funded in part by the National Science Foundation and the US Department of Energy, NESMD is an innovative process that achieves solar-thermal energy collection and water purification simultaneously.

Photothermal nanoparticles are coated on a hydrophobic membrane. Sunlight reacts with the nanoparticles generating heat on the membrane’s surface. The heat evaporates the feed water generating clean water vapor that flows through the membrane, leaving the dirty feed water behind.


NESMD Technology


Localized Water’s NESMD technology has advanced past prototype feasibility and is now on a path to full commercialization within 12-24 months

Small- Scale Prototype

Second Generation Prototype


Max water output of the NESMD membrane is up to 15 liters / hour / m2 assuming 90% heat recovery scaling linearly, or 1/3 gallons per hour per square foot.

For perspective, NESMD could produce up to roughly 10,000 gpd of pure water using the surface area of a basketball court (4,700 sqft), assuming 6 hours of sunlight. Increased water production is possible through supplemental infra-red illumination during non-sunlight hours.

LWS is currently designing NESMD water purification systems that can modularly scale for expanding water needs for the following uses for which it has obtained exclusive rights: 

Small residential and multi-unit residential systems (400 – 1,000 gpd)

Transportable / truck mounted system for emergency and military use (2,000 – 5,000 gpd)

Larger systems for municipal and humanitarian use (10,000 – 500,000+ gallons per day)

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