Americans have found a way to never run out of drinking water again

News hardware Americans have found a way to never run out of drinking water again

Scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are actively working on a portable desalination device capable of efficiently producing drinking water from seawater. Hope to fight against shortages around the world.

The climate crisis, which is slowly but surely taking hold across the world, is already beginning to have very harmful consequences on human life. Drought, in particular, contributes to increasing shortages of drinking water in different parts of the world, which prompts many scientists to look into ways of bringing drinking water to where it is urgently needed.

A suitcase to desalinate water

It is in this context thata team of MIT researchers, led by Junghyo Yoon, has developed a relatively compact device capable of desalinating seawater. Named ICPWaterTechthe machine, which is currently in prototype form, does not filter salt water: instead, it uses a technique called “Ion concentration polarization” (ICP). This means thatit applies an electric field to the water, which repels both positively and negatively charged particles. This includes salt molecules, but also bacteria and viruses.

As this process is not sufficient to completely remove all salt particles, the researchers supplemented it with an electrodialysis step. The water that comes out of the machine after these two treatments is not only stripped of its salt, but it is also purified to make it perfectly fit for consumption.

A promising process that needs to be perfected

The MIT prototype is currently capable of produce drinking water up to 0.3 liters per hour : it’s not much, but it’s only the beginning. Moreover, the other advantage of the device is thatit consumes only 20 watt hours per liter of desalinated water, which allows it to operate using a simple portable solar panel. The video below shows the device in operation.

This system, presented for the first time in 2021, received last year a prize awarded by the J-WAFS (Abdul Latif Jameel Water & Food Systems Lab) as part of World Water Day. Various prizes are awarded each year to scientific projects related to our planet’s most vital resource.

MIT scientists and engineers now plan toimprove their performance of their machine and work on a marketable version, which could see the light of day in the years to come. It is certain that such a device could be of great help in many parts of the world in the coming decades.

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