jbeaupre writes "The Economist reports on progress by a company called Saltworks on using saline gradients to do the heavy lifting of desalination. In essence, Saltworks uses solar energy or waste heat to concentrate sea water. They then use the ionic gradient between the concentrated brine and two sea-water streams to pull ions from from a 3rd sea-water stream. It appears to work with entropy by trading the reduced entropy of the desalinated water against the increased entropy of 'mixing' the brine and the other sea-water streams. The article only discusses Na and Cl, but even just removing these ions is a step in the right direction."