Petaluma-based Trevi Systems, a forward-osmosis water-desalinization system provider, will be part of a project in Hawaii to lower the cost of turning seawater into fresh water under a $2 million award from the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Energy Technologies Office (SETO).

The funding was awarded to Natural Energy Laboratory of Hawaii Authority (NELHA), which operates an 870-acre research facility called Hawaii Ocean Science and Technology Park in Kailua-Kona. The desalination facility is called the Hawaii SunShot Desal Project.

The system will tap the sun to power the process of desalinization. According to the state of Hawaii, electricity costs account for up to half of the operating expenses for today’s desalination operations and require plants to be grid-connected. The goal of the research project is to cut that power cost by about 40 percent, according to the state.

Mr. John Webley, President of Trevi Systems Inc. said, “We are excited to receive this funding and work with NELHA and other team members to validate the commercial viability of our technology. We have been involved in the greener side of desalination for over 10 years and the next wave of water treatment using our technology will disrupt the water and energy nexus, helping farmers deliver more affordable food to your table as well as lower cost drinking water. ”

The area firm was started 2010. It is privately held and has 25 full-time employees, according to its website.