Since there are no currently active contests, we have switched Climate CoLab to read-only mode.
Learn more at
Skip navigation
Share via:


The idea is to create a non-profit partnership between waste managers and lye producers which reduces the cost and offensive odors.



Large metropolitan cities exist along coastlines and their sewage plants are located near the coast.  The ingredients to process the sewage can be extracted from the same salt water that the sewage is being dumped into.

Lye (Sodium hydroxide) is an important chemical in removing the odor from waste water.  Lye is produced via a combination of Sodium Carbonate and Calcium Oxide, all ingredients produced in the ocean.

A close proximity between these chemical producers and disposal plants could increase innovations in these areas.

One of the major producers of Lye are desalination plants, which extract brine from salt water.  The brine, cannot be disposed easily, as it is toxic to plants and fish.

  In 2011, the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) recommend further research in the area of brine management solutions.

Category of the action

Reducing emissions from waste management

What actions do you propose?

  The technology that is developed from this partnership, is desired by nations with water shortages, as they are likely producing Lye in overabundance.  Perhaps some of these technologies can be commercialized and brought  to costal cities where water is not in low supply.



Who will take these actions?

A crossover of scientists and engineers from wastewater and desalinization technologies.

Where will these actions be taken?

In the US, coastal cities facing water shortages, like Los Angeles.  Perhaps in partnership with other nations where water scarcity is a significant issue. 

What are other key benefits?

How much will emissions be reduced or sequestered vs. business as usual levels?

The World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) stated "Brine output from desalination plants remains probably the key sustainability problem with desalination."

What are the proposal’s costs?

Time line

Related proposals


"Desalination Technologies and the Use of Alternative Energies for Desalination 2011" World Intellectual Property Organization