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Low Energy Water Desalination Through Nanotechnology

The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory has found out a greener way to desalinize sea water. It uses carbon nanotubes which have pores that are 100,000 times smaller than a human hair, and were able to determine the rejection mechanism within the pores.

The following is from LLNL’s press release:

“Hydrophobic, narrow diameter carbon nanotubes can provide a simplified model of membrane channels by reproducing these critical features in a simpler and more robust platform,” said Olgica Bakajin, who led the LLNL team whose study appeared in the June 6 online edition of the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

In the initial discovery, reported in the May 19, 2006 issue of the journal Science, the LLNL team found that water molecules in a carbon nanotube move fast and do not stick to the nanotube’s super smooth surface, much like water moves through biological channels. The water molecules travel in chains – because they interact with each other strongly via hydrogen bonds.

“You can visualize it as mini-freight trains of chain-bonded water molecules flying at high speed through a narrow nanotube tunnel,” said Hyung Gyu Park, an LLNL postdoctoral researcher and a team member.

One of the most promising applications for carbon nanotube membranes is sea water desalination. These membranes will some day be able to replace conventional membranes and greatly reduce energy use for desalination.

In the recent study, the researchers wanted to find out if the membranes with 1.6 nanometer (nm) pores reject ions that make up common salts. In fact, the pores did reject the ions and the team was able to understand the rejection mechanism.

If water desalination is achieved at lower energy water supplies from all around the world could be significantly grow. That would mean more food for the poor countries and cheaper water all in all for the rest of the world.

source: LLNL

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Ovidiu has always been a fan of technology and Captain Planet. Unable to ignore the technical possibilities that exist nowadays, he started collecting and blogging about the most interesting news out there and saw that there were a lot of people interested in the same that stuff he was.

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Comments

  • broath

    Just saying hello. Here from Texas

  • http://www.scottenglishplumbing.com Scott

    This is a great idea. If the water desalination is achieved at lower energy water supplies from all around the world could be significantly grow. Thank you.

  • http://www.niccm.com/ Heather

    The vapors rose and were collected, becoming drinkable water. These membranes will some day be able to replace conventional membranes and greatly reduce energy use for desalination. Thank you.

  • http://www.birchphotographers.com Christie

    The most promising applications for carbon nanometer membranes is sea water desalination. The pulverized sea water was brought in contact with this air. The vapors rose and were collected, becoming drinkable water. Thank you.

  • Synthesis

    Hi people!
    Do you know about the water desalination system created by the Romanian inventor Henri Coanda?

    Source (end section of the article)
    http://www.evz.ro/detalii/stiri/916154/pagina-comentarii/1.html
    Aprox. Translation:

    “DESALINATION

    1.600 liters of drinkable water in 12 hours, using solar panels

    The French review “Radar”, year 1954. Title: “Henri Coandă shocks the economy in the desert”. The Romanian born scientist has prooved the functionality of a desalination system, which uses solar energy, tapped using some panels. “All was done using the vaporization process. The air was heated at 500 Celsius degrees. The pulverized sea water was brought in contact with this air. The vapours rose and were colected, becoming drinkable water. And below the salt remained”, explains Sorin Dinea.
    With a such eco-system 1600 liters could be processed in 12 hours. The solar panel system required for this has an area of just 8 square meters.
    The system proposed by Henri Coandă was never implemented on a large scale, being considered “fiction”, althought Coandă did a practical demonstration in France. There were some scientists who demanded explanations from the French government because it has refused to implement this system in Maroc, in 1954, 2 years before France recognized the independence of the north-african state.”

  • http://www.classicphotographers.com Michelle

    The most promising applications for carbon nanotube membranes is sea water desalination. These membranes will some day be able to replace conventional membranes and greatly reduce energy use for desalinatio Thank you for the idea.

  • http://www.curwensbody.com Ted

    If the water desalination is achieved at lower energy water supplies from all around the world could be significantly grow. That was a great. I something learn in your blog. Thank you.

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