Westlands Water District Funds Water Treatment Pilot Project Utilizing New Sky Energy's Salt/CO2 Conversion Process

Project Will Provide Farmers With a New Source of Clean Water by Concentrating and Converting Waste Salts From Drainage Water Into Valuable Clean Chemicals

BOULDER, CO--(Marketwire - March 18, 2010) -  Westlands Water District and Ag-Water New Sky, LLC, (AGNS) announced today they will develop an integrated drainage water treatment facility in California's Central Valley. The project combines conventional desalination technology with award winning salt conversion technology developed by New Sky Energy of Boulder, Colorado. The project will design and build a demonstration water treatment facility that converts high salinity drainage water into fresh water for irrigation and financially valuable CO2 negative products derived from the waste salts. 

The first phase of the project is projected to break ground in the Central Valley in the second half of 2010. When fully deployed, the $3.2 million project will desalinate approximately 240,000 gallons of drainage water per day and convert approximately five tons of waste brine salts into carbon neutral and carbon negative chemicals such as acid, caustic soda and solid carbonates like limestone and soda ash. In addition, the project will trap approximately 2.8 tons of CO2 daily.

"Westlands is the largest agricultural water district in the country, and all of our farmers are dealing with urgent water-supply issues," said Tom Birmingham, WWD's Executive Director. "New Sky Energy's salt conversion technology is a top priority for our district and we are extremely excited about the prospects for cost-effective water treatment they may create."

"This project opens up an entirely new path to cost-effective water treatment in the Central Valley," said Dr. Deane Little, founder of New Sky Energy. "By converting drainage water into fresh water and clean chemicals we can help solve freshwater shortages and drainage water pollution while creating clean tech jobs at the same time. We are excited to be putting our clean technology to work for California farmers and helping to transform waste into revenues."

New Sky Energy will work with Westlands through a joint venture partner, Ag Water - New Sky, LLC to build and deploy the water treatment plant. Ag Water - New Sky will provide reverse osmosis desalination equipment; New Sky will provide its carbon negative electrochemical technology to process the waste brine stream generated by desalination. Westlands will provide the raw drainage water and use the clean water generated by the plant for irrigation.

"The desalination of Central Valley drainage water will typically produce 8-10 tons of solid waste per acre foot of water treated," said Ron Smith, CEO of Ag Water - New Sky, LLC. "With our advanced treatment systems and the New Sky Energy technology we will convert these solid waste materials to valuable agricultural and industrial commodities."

Westlands encompasses more than 600,000 acres of farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties. The District serves approximately 600 family-owned farms that average 900 acres in size, delivering water through the Central Valley Project and a network of 1,034 miles of underground pipe. In many parts of the District, salts are accumulating in the soil from the application of imported irrigation water. Without proper drainage and disposal, this saline water can impact the root zones of plants, preventing crop growth and reducing yields.

For New Sky Energy, the world's first carbon negative energy and manufacturing company, the project provides an opportunity to demonstrate its proprietary capture process to scrub CO2 from the air and convert it into safe, stable solids. These solids can in turn be incorporated into building materials, durable goods, fertilizers and other manufactured products. The process requires waste salts that are abundant in Central Valley drainage water. 

For the Westlands project, New Sky will process salts extracted from drainage water to capture CO2 from the air. That process will produce several clean chemicals, which in turn can be sold to subsidize the desalinization plant costs. Little said the Westlands project will supply several potential benefits, including:

  • New source of clean water from salty drainage water;
  • Elimination of desalination brine waste by conversion of salts to useful products;
  • Carbon negative products from CO2;
  • New clean manufacturing jobs in the Central Valley.

"Farmers are the original stewards of the lands and by working with Westlands and Ag Water - New Sky, we are developing a cost-effective water treatment process that provides positive results for farmers, the economy and the environment," said Little.

About New Sky Energy
Boulder, Colorado-based New Sky Energy is a carbon negative manufacturing company that makes useful products out of carbon dioxide. A 2009 Cleantech Open winner, New Sky uses a proprietary capture process to scrub CO2 from the air or flue gas and converts it into safe, stable solids. These solids can in turn be incorporated into building materials, durable goods, fertilizers and other manufactured products. New Sky's process is simple, sustainable chemistry, protected by nine US and international patent applications. New Sky's chemical inputs are waste salt, water and carbon dioxide; outputs are valuable carbon negative products - smart chemistry for a cooler planet. For more information, go to www.newskyenergy.com.

About Westlands Water District
Westlands Water District's
mission is to provide a timely, reliable and affordable water supply to its landowners and water users, and to provide drainage service to those lands that need it. To this end, Westlands is committed to the preservation of its federal contract, which includes water and drainage service, and to the acquisition of additional water necessary to meet the needs of its landowners and water users. Formed in 1952, Westlands encompasses more than 600,000 acres of farmland in western Fresno and Kings Counties. The District serves approximately 600 family-owned farms that average 900 acres in size. Westlands farmers produce more than 60 high quality commercial food and fiber crops sold for the fresh, dry, canned and frozen food markets, both domestic and export. More than 50,000 people live and work in the communities dependent on the District's agricultural economy.

Ag Water - New Sky LLC is a joint-venture company formed in 2009 to pursue drainage water remediation in California's Central Valley through a unique combination of conventional water treatment technologies and New Sky Energy's proprietary salt conversion and carbon capture technology. Using an award-winning clean chemical process New Sky Energy combines waste salts with CO2 from the air, flue gas or other exhausts to create competitively-priced, chemically stable solids widely used in industry and agriculture. 

Contact Information:

New Sky Energy:
Michael S. Ashford, EVP

(720) 239-1174

Sarah Woolf
Public Affairs Office
Westlands Water District
(559) 341-0174