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MIT team wins desalination prize

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A team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has won first prize in a US government contest to develop an inexpensive way to desalinate water in developing countries.

A system developed by Amos Winter, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at MIT, and doctoral student Natasha Wright won out over four other contenders in the contest, which was sponsored by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Bureau of Reclamation and held at a research facility in Alamogordo, N.M., earlier this month.

The MIT team will receive a $160,000 reward for developing the system; a team from the University of Texas at El Paso won a second place prize of $40,000. A team made up of university researchers from Nepal, Jordan, Israel, Brazil, and the United States received honorable mention. All three of the teams will be eligible to share in an additional $400,000 in grants to set up pilot projects to test their machines under real-world conditions.

Hiawatha Bray can be reached at hiawatha.bray@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeTechLab.
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