New Desalination Technologies separates seawater into freshwater and lithium

New Desalination Technologies

Editor: Vlad Rothstein | Tactical Investor

Desalination Technologies

New Desalination Technologies to separate minerals from seawater

Seawater is a complex cocktail of useful minerals, but it’s hard to separate out the specific ones we need. Now, a team of scientists from Australia and the US has developed a new water desalination technique that can not only make seawater fresh enough to drink, but recovers lithium ions for use in batteries.

The key to the process is metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), which boast the largest internal surface area of any known material. Unfolded, a single gram of the material could theoretically cover a football field, and it’s this intricate internal structure that makes MOFs perfect for capturing, storing and releasing molecules. Recent research into the material could see MOFs put to work as carbon emission sponges, high-precision chemical sensors, and urban water filters.

Currently, reverse osmosis membranes are the most commonly-used technology for water filtration, and they work on a fairly simple principle.  Read more

New Desalination Technologies: Novel Way To Remove Salt

As the availability of clean, potable water becomes an increasingly urgent issue in many parts of the world, researchers are searching for new ways to treat salty, brackish or contaminated water to make it usable. Now a team at MIT has come up with an innovative approach that, unlike most traditional desalination systems, does not separate ions or water molecules with filters, which can become clogged, or boiling, which consumes great amounts of energy.

Instead, the system uses an electrically driven shockwave within a stream of flowing water, which pushes salty water to one side of the flow and freshwater to the other, allowing easy separation of the two streams. The new approach is described in the journal Environmental Science and Technology Letters, in a paper by professor of chemical engineering and mathematics Martin Bazant, graduate student Sven Schlumpberger, undergraduate Nancy Lu, and former postdoc Matthew Suss.

This approach is “a fundamentally new and different separation system,” Bazant says. And unlike most other approaches to desalination or water purification, he adds, this one performs a “membraneless separation” of ions and particles. Read more

Singapore Taking The Lead With New Desalination Technologies

Sixty-eight years later, this port city has both gained territorial independence and managed to bootstrap its way to wealth in spite of a lack of water and energy. And now, against all odds, complete water independence—from both Malaysia and even the weather—is within easy reach. Rather than flushing waste into the sea, the water utility collects the country’s wastewater, cleans it to pristine levels, and returns it to the public supply. Singapore has thus short-circuited the water cycle by reducing it to an island-ringing loop.

At first, no one relished the idea of drinking wastewater. Rejuvenating the waste stream requires electricity to power an intensive cleaning process, and that investment makes the recycled water more expensive than what’s used by cities blessed with nearby freshwater lakes, rivers, and aquifers. But presented with a set of tough choices, Singapore chose water recycling—and so far it has worked admirably.

Then the utility did a radical thing. After half a decade of research and tests at a pilot recycling plant, Singapore’s planners unveiled their ultimate strategy for water security. They would force wastewater through filters under high pressure to remove all microbes, viruses, and larger impurities. The utility called its product NEWater, and it called the treatment plant a factory. With great emphasis on its sparkling newness, treated wastewater made its public debut in 2003. Full Story


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