There are reports in the literature that the lives of 4 billion people are at risk either now or in the foreseeable future, and including even 130 million US citizens, mostly in the western states of California and surroundings and in Texas and Florida as being subject to water scarcity primarily due to depletion of aquifers and ground water and losses due to evaporation. 1, 2, 3 At the same time, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), there is strong evidence that global sea level is now rising at an increased rate and will continue to rise during this century.4 Climate scientists at the Potsdam Institute of Climate Impact Research published a study in the journal Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences5 that found that the economic costs of sea level rise increase more quickly than sea levels themselves.
Although fresh water is scarce, obviously the oceans are virtually an infinite source of water. Rather than trying to implement difficult fresh water usage restrictions, the best solution to the sea level rise and fresh water scarcity would be to cheaply and efficiently convert sea water to fresh water and to pump the rising sea water level inland to compensate for the underground aquifer depletion. The main problem with desalination has always been, and continues to be, the high energy consumption and operating cost. Similarly, efforts in the past to transport fresh water from northern latitudes have faced the difficulty of high energy costs for pumping water over long distances.
Solute ion linear alignment propulsion was presented in ASME ES2010-903966. Solute ion linear alignment is a process in which potential energy of the electrostatic fields of like charged solute ions is converted to kinetic energy. The current paper presents factors showing that solute ion linear alignment as a power generation method by flash distillation7, and which normally releases no carbon emissions, could in fact be the only way feasible to cheaply and efficiently convert sea water to fresh water and pump the rising sea water level inland to compensate for the underground aquifer depletion. Since solute ion linear alignment is based on the principle of capacitive deionization (CDI), anomalies concerning CDI are discussed. For example, for opposite electrodes separated by 1 mm and subject to a differential voltage of 1.5 volts, the resulting charge densities on opposite electrodes of over 10 Farads/gram and material densities, e.g., carbon nanofoam, of 0.5 grams/cm2, the resulting force between the positively charged ions on one electrode and the negatively charged ions on the other electrode is calculated to be in the range of 1015 Newtons based on Coulomb’s Law. The stability of charge densities in the range of 10 Coulombs/cm3 is also discussed in view of the potential energy and resulting forces of such charge densities with consideration of possible differences in dielectric properties in solids versus liquids for like-charged conditions. An analysis of the power requirements for the CDI charge absorption and regeneration cycle is compared to the potential energy available from linear alignment to show that the linear alignment process is expected to be a net energy gain process in the same category as combustion, which involves electron transfer, nuclear fission, which is the electrostatic repulsion of the protons in the nucleus, and nuclear fusion, which is caused by attraction of the nuclear force.