A research team has been successful to convert seawater and brackish water into safe, clean potable water in less than 30 minutes. This has been accomplished using metal-organic frameworks and sunlight.
The discovery is a feat to provide potable water for millions of people around the world. The technique has served to be useful in two ways: generate clean water and perform the task in a more energy-efficient way. First, using the technique, researchers could produce 139.5 liter of clean water for one kilogram of metal organic framework used each day. And, the technique is more efficient than current desalination practices.
New technique adheres to recommended dissolved solids in purified Water
Good quality drinking water should have total dissolved solid of less than 600 parts per million, suggests the World Health Organization. Using the technique, researchers were able to achieve total dissolved solid of less than 500 in only 30 minutes. And, could regenerate the metal-organic framework for reuse in four minutes using sunlight.
This work has opened up a new direction for the design of stimuli-responsive materials that enable sustainable desalination and water purification in an energy-efficient manner.
“Meanwhile, desalination is used to address expanding water shortages globally. Desalination is reliable, and due to vast sources of seawater and brackish water, treated water can be integrated with existing aquatic systems with minimal health risks,” said the lead author of the study.
However, thermal desalination by evaporation is energy-intensive, and using other technologies such as reverse osmosis has several drawbacks. This includes high energy consumption and chemical usage in dechlorination and membrane cleaning.
Sunlight is the most abundantly available renewable source of energy on Earth. The development of a new adsorbent-based desalination process using sunlight for regeneration serves to be an environmentally-sustainable and energy-efficient solution for desalination.