Researchers convert salt water into fresh water in an energy-efficient way

This technology is determined to reduce water scarcity in the future. Water scarcity will be a threat to human survival in the coming years with the increase in global warming situation. The sea level is rising rapidly and salt water will submerge all the remaining lakes and rivers. According to the estimated data, about 230 million people from the African continent will face water shortages by 2025.

The technology promises to produce fresh water by the process of removing salt from the seawater. A desalination plant is aiming to convert seawater into drinkable water. Researchers have effortlessly filtered salt water with the help of fluorine-based nanostructures. The fluorine nanochannels have performed more effectively than conventional means of distillation.

Converting seawater to drinkable water is an already established practice but it’s not energy efficient.  However, an Associate Professor of the University of Tokyo named Yoshimitsu Itoh at the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology has been investigating on fluorine pipelines or nanochannels for a decade.  Fluorine is a lightweight ingredient that also consists of water-repelling properties. Due to its hydrophobic quality, it can be used as a component for Teflon. Teflon is used to enhance the flow of water. The associate professor and his colleagues were intrigued by this property.

So, they developed filtration membranes by chemically producing nanoscopic fluorine rings. Those fluorine rings were assembled and implanted on the lipid layer. The nanorings were sized from 1 to 2 nanometers. Fluorine is a negative component that repels another negative ion such as chlorine found in salt and this is the technique they are using to separate salt from water.

Researchers said that the materials that will be used are energy-intensive but has more longevity. The member has a low operational cost. So, the total production will be highly energy-sufficient.