New Seawater Desalinating Process in Development

July 22, 2013 · Print This Article

In general, removing salts from water is an expensive, energy intensive process. But a team of chemists at the University of Texas at Austin and the University of Marburg in Germany are developing a new method to produce freshwater from briny that doesn’t involve reverse osmosis or thermal desalination. A small electrical field does the trick.

As UT Austin states, researchers apply 3.0 volts to a plastic chip filled with seawater. The

chip has a microchannel with two branches, and an electrode placed at the fork. The electrode neutralizes some of the chloride ions in the water, changing the electric field nearby by creating an

“ion depletion zone.” This funnels the salts into one branch, leaving the desalinated water to flow into the other.

Electrochemically mediated seawater desalination, as it’s called, is in the early stages of development. The prototype chip only removes […]

[Source] Cynthia

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