Dates in desal history

From key research and plants that were firsts, to the building problems of the early days and ideas that never proved practical. Read about the turning points of desalination history.

Event Datesort icon
Jim Birkett Shipboard desalination, 1684, UK "An experiment to produce fresh water out of salt" 1684
Tom Pankratz Development of the MSF process, USA Simultaneous invention caused long dispute 1955
Bob Silver archive documents Controversial MSF co-inventor's biography 1957
Tom Pankratz Office of Saline Water – desal R&D funding, USA "A triumph of peace and not war" 1958
Jim Birkett Aruba – pre-TVC MED, 1959, Netherlands Antilles Achieving efficient large-scale MED was a struggle 1959
Tom Pankratz The first hollow-fibre RO membrane, USA How DuPont captured 70% of the seawater market 1963
Klaus Wangnick Ceuta dual-purpose desal-power plant, Spain Mid-1960s MSF/generation plant by Krupp 1965
A business trip to El Aiun, Spanish Morocco Desert sands, whiskey and sharp suits 1970
Tom Pankratz Ajax A, Japan World's largest RO system at 3,028 m3/d 1971
Dave Laker Lake International’s largest RO plant, USA But seawater RO was still 4 years away 1971
Dave Laker The first single-pass SWRO plant, Bermuda A daring gamble that paid off 1974
Kurt Kiefer. Al-Jubail Phase II MSF plant, Saudi Arabia "Is this actually possible?" 1978
GG Pique SWRO and whale psychologists, Argentina Desal meets eco-tourism in Patagonia 1983
WDR WDR’s Dick Smith memorial issue A farewell to "Mr Desalting" 2009
Oxen power: a truly renewable energy Non-conventional energy sources 2012