TEMPE, Ariz. — The National Science Foundation (NSF) awarded an $18.5 million grant to establish a mobile water treatment center that will provide millions of people access to clean water, according to a press release.

Arizona State University, Rice University, Yale University and the University of Texas at El Paso will work together on the Nanotechnology Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) System, noted the release. The system is one of NSF’s Engineering Research Centers (ERC).

Rice University will lead the NEWT development, which will be located in Houston, stated the release. A five-year renewable grant will fund the project. More than 30 partners from organizations such as Shell, Baker Hughes, UNESCO, U.S. Army Corp of Engineers and the NASA will collaborate on the project.

Millions of Americans lack access to municipal water, stated the release.

“The importance of clean water to global health and economic development simply cannot be overstated,” said NEWT director Pedro Alvarez, Rice’s George R. Brown professor of civil and environmental Engineering and professor of chemistry, materials science and nanoengineering. “We envision using technology and advanced materials to provide clean water to millions of people who lack it and to enable energy production in the United States to be more cost-effective and more sustainable in regard to its water footprint.” Alvarez is also the principal investigator on the grant for NEWT.

The center also aims to make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective, reported the release.

Click here to read the entire release.