Making seawater drinkable has never looked so sexy.

Most desalination plants — factories that take the salt out of ocean water — look like this:

desalination-plant

But the Land Art Generator Initiative, a competition to design new energy infrastructure that can do double duty as public art, says a desalination plant can look like this instead:

the-pipe-land-art-generator-initiative-exterior

Land Art Generator Initiative

But the shiny surface on this hypothetical 2,000-foot-long pipe is actually solar panels, which would power the seawater-to-freshwater process.

pipe-land-art-generator-interior

Land Art Generator Initiative

The interior of the pipe would be an enormous public pool that would help disperse the extra-salty brine left over from the desalination process back into the ocean.

Khalili Engineers, the team that created the design, told Fast Co.Exist that the pipe would be able to supply a billion gallons a year — about half of Santa Monica’s freshwater needs. They’re building a prototype to prove it — which is good, because that number sounds ambitious.

In the meantime, this conceptual work is a perfect hybrid of current trends in art, technology, climate preparedness, and public spaces for our hotter, more crowded cities. Expect to see more blinged-out designs like this in the future.

This story was originally published by Grist with the headline Making seawater drinkable has never looked so sexy. on Sep 8, 2016.

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