Access to clean, safe drinking water is a necessary condition, but worryingly many parts of the world are not meeting it,media New Atlas reported. A new study uses a material called a metal organic frame (MOF) to filter out pollutants in seawater, producing large amounts of fresh water every day and using much less energy than other methods.
MOF is a highly porous material with a high surface area, making it ideal for catching molecules and particles. In this case, the team developed a new type of MOF called PSP-MIL-53, which is used to capture salt and impurities in salt water and seawater. When the material is put into water, it selectively pulls ions out of the liquid and retains them on its surface. Within 30 minutes, MOF was able to reduce the total solubility of solids (TDS) in water from 2233 ppm to less than 500 ppm. This is well below the 600 ppm safe drinking water threshold recommended by the World Health Organization.
Using this technology, the material is capable of producing up to 139.5 L of fresh water per kilogram of MOF per day. Once the particles in the MOF are “fully loaded”, they can be cleaned quickly and easily for reuse. To do this, place it in the sun so that it releases the captured salt in as little as four minutes. While there are not many desalination systems in use or development, the team says the new MOF is faster than other technologies and requires less energy throughout the cycle.
“The heat desalination process by evaporation is energy intensive, while other technologies, such as reverse osmosis, have many drawbacks, including high energy consumption and the use of chemicals in membrane cleaning and dechlorination.” Wang Huanting, lead author of the study, said. “Sunlight is the most abundant renewable energy source on Earth. By using sunlight for regeneration, we have developed a new desalination process based on adsorbents, providing an energy-efficient and environmentally sustainable solution for desalination. “
The study was published in the journal Nature-Sustainability.