Scientists Can Now Make Seawater Safe to Drink In Minutes

In a world that’s 71% water, it seems like a cruel, cosmic joke that millions die of thirst everyday. It is known that a billion people still don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water even with all these vast oceans of water just sitting idly around us.

Scientists have been working for years to improve this ridiculous situation by trying to develop technology that makes brackish, highly-saline water safe to drink. 

Now, a technological breakthrough by scientists in Australia is emerging as the most promising one so far. By harnessing sunlight to purify seawater in just about 30 minutes, the PSP-MIL-53 is poised to be the cheapest, most stable, and reusable material that can make salt water potable.

Meeting Standards

According to tests, just 2.2 pounds of the metal-organic framework can churn out more than 35 gallons of clean water on a daily basis.

The water produced also exceeds the minimum desalination standards set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

This is by no means the first breakthrough of its kind, but engineers behind the innovation said it provides substantial upgrades from existing desalination technologies.

“Other technologies, such as reverse osmosis, have a number of drawbacks, including high energy consumption and chemical usage in membrane cleaning and dechlorination,” explained Huanting Wang, a chemical engineer from Monash University. 

“Our development of a new adsorbent-based desalination process through the use of sunlight for regeneration provides an energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable solution for desalination.” 

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Quenching The World’s Thirst

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Saline water covers 97% of the planet’s water supply, making it an untapped resource for life-sustaining water, even as about 800 million people have to walk at least half an hour just for a glass of clean water.

“Desalination has been used to address escalating water shortages globally,” said Wang. “Due to the availability of brackish water and seawater, and because desalination processes are reliable, treated water can be integrated within existing aquatic systems with minimal health risks.”
With half of the world’s population poised to live in water-stressed areas in the next five years, solutions just can’t come quickly enough, especially for cities in South Africa, India, and Beijing currently on the brink of a massive water crisis.

Posted 
August 17, 2020
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