University researchers have developed a desalination process that pumps ions instead of water.
Researchers from Indonesia’s Bogor Agricultural University, the University of Bath and the University of Johannesburg have developed a low-cost, solar-powered desalination system that can be operated in mobile units.
This can be used in households in remote areas where water is scarce.
The unit is a 3D-printed system with two internal chambers designed to extract or accumulate salt.
When power is applied, salt cations or positively charged ions and salt anions or negatively charged ions travel between the chambers through a negatively charged membrane.
As a result of this one-way flow, salt is pumped out of seawater.
The prototype is able to remove 50% of the salt from the seawater – but to be drinkable 90% will have to be removed.
The separated salt can be crystallised and then used as a food supplement.
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