Industrial cooling towers use about as much water as all U.S. households combined—a whopping 2 trillion gallons each year. That water emerges in plumes and is lost to the atmosphere.
Infinite Cooling uses electric fields to capture 20 percent of water losses from those power plants, data centers, and other industrial facilities. The recovered water can be reused in the cooling tower, reducing the plant’s water consumption and cutting its costs.
Remarkably, the recovered water is essentially distilled water that’s safe to use for drinking or for agriculture—even if the original water used in the cooling tower wasn’t.
“This is one area where you can have a huge impact,” says Maher Damak, CEO and co-founder of Infinite Cooling. “Water scarcity is one of the largest problems of this century. This is basically a new source of water.”
Damak and fellow co-founder and CTO Karim Khalil developed the company’s technology while completing their PhDs at MIT. Its water saving potential is enormous—if Infinite Cooling’s electric fields were applied to all cooling towers in the United States, 400 billion gallons per year could be saved. There are economic benefits as well; Infinite Cooling estimates that a 600 MW system could save $1 million per year by using the water recovery system.
In 2020, the company’s setting its sights on a “larger-scale installation,” the founders say.
Infinite Cooling joined Greentown Labs in late 2018, and grew its team from three to nine throughout 2019. Khalil says the Manufacturing Initiative—run by FORGE, Greentown’s sister nonprofit—has been critical in helping the company find the right contacts.
“When we were looking for our first contract manufacturer, we went to the Manufacturing Initiative, and they helped us identify our needs and what’s available and get recommendations from folks,” Khalil says. “We’ve been able to get quite a bit of help.”
Greentown Labs is a community of bold, passionate entrepreneurs creating solutions for today’s biggest climate and environmental challenges. Located in Somerville, Mass., the Greentown Labs Global Center for Cleantech Innovation is the largest cleantech incubator in North America, operating a 100,000 sq. ft. campus comprised of prototyping and wet lab space, shared office space, a machine shop, electronics lab, and a curated suite of programs and resources. Greentown Labs is home to more than 100 startups and has supported more than 230 since its inception.