Industry: Atoms for Thirst

One of the most promising prospects for creating a major new industry lies in the sea. If U.S. scientists can develop a practical, economic way to desalt sea water, they will not only ease such regional problems as drought, but will generate demand for many kinds of machines and human skills. While more than 200 desalting plants are already operating around the world, including nine in the U.S., they have yet to surmount one vexing problem: cost. The desalting plants have been unable to produce fresh water for much less than $1...

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