Friday, June 28, 2013

Could New Water Desalination System Transform Regions?

Technology and research are two best friends that go on long strolls together to solve the world’s problems. Researchers have discovered a method of desalinating water without the use of a cumbersome filtration system. Dr. Richard Crooks from the University of Texas and Dr. Ulrich Tallarek at the University of Marburg developed an idea of using electricity in small channels to remove salt. 

Inside of the little chip are two channels with an electrode connected to it. With three volts of electricity it turns the chloride ions into neutral chlorine which further enhances the electric field. In turn the ions move down one channel and the fresh water moves down the other. The laws of physics requires a neutral electromagnetic field which forces ions into a smaller channel separating it from the main water supply. The end product is water that can be used for growing or drinking.

According to the United Nations about a third of the population lives in areas that are already water short. This is expected to grow to double in about 10 years. As the world suffers from issues such as declining forest/jungle, water supplies, and habitat it is ideas such as this which further helps foster a renewable environment. Food without an adequate supply of water cannot meet the needs of people. 

Around 12 years ago I wrote about a new technology for filtering ocean water and producing electricity. Countries like Saudi Arabia have implemented those technologies. The new system will be cheaper to build, run, and manage than previous systems. It requires only a little electricity and doesn’t require any major filtration systems. This means that capital investments and additional improvements in the system may someday transform the planet as we know it. 

The doctors have built a start-up company called Okeanos Technologies based upon the technology listed in the publication in the Journal Angewandte Chemie. The start-up has research partnerships with a number of universities to develop the technology for commercial uses. As it has lots of possibilities and already has interest from both governmental and private stakeholders its buzz is not yet finished.

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