New Technology Converts Salt Water into Pure Drinking Water

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Process developed in Egypt said to purify water in minutes

Purifying dirty or salt water is an extremely difficult thing to do. Even in the West where we see droughts in California technology to do this would normally be deemed too expensive. The developing nations in areas like Africa have even less money so a process that works in minutes and is very cheap is the end goal everyone is looking for. This technology could change the life of millions, lets hope this is the real deal.

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Developed by a team of researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt, the procedure uses a desalination technique called pervaporation to remove the salt from sea water and make it drinkable. Specially made synthetic membranes are used to filter out large salt particles and impurities so they can be evaporated away, and then the rest is heated up, vapourised, and condensed back into clean water.

Crucially, the membranes can be made in any lab using cheap materials that are available locally, and the vaporisation part of the process doesn’t require any electricity. This means the new method is both inexpensive and suitable for areas without a regular power supply – both factors that are very important for developing countries.

The technique not only desalinates the seawater, it’s capable of removing sewage and dirt from it too. The researchers combined expertise in oceanography, chemical engineering, agricultural engineering and biosystems engineering to come up with the solution, and their work has now been published in the journal Water Science and Technology.

Unfortunately for those who are waiting for this type of technology, a lot of work is required before it can be put into action: the academics working on the project have to set up a pilot test that proves their theories correct on a large scale. There’s also the issue of how to deal with the waste produced from the process.

What’s certain is that a new procedure like this could have a huge impact on the lives of millions of people – according to Water.org, some 750 million people across the globe don’t have access to clean drinking water, a problem that’s responsible for around 840,000 deaths every year – more than the entire population of San Francisco.

 

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