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A treatment process developed by engineers at the University of Colorado Boulder promises a simpler and more economical way to clean up the wastewater produced by oil and gas operations that is heavily salinated and full of organic contaminants. The technique, which involves the use of a microbe-powered battery, also produces rather than consumes energy. Read More
Desalination may one day prove the savior for regions of the world where clean drinking water is scarce, but current technology dictates that this process is often expensive and energy-intensive. The team behind the Desolenator has high hopes of delivering water security to those in need, with a mobile desalinator that runs purely on energy from the sun. Read More
Watching on as the waves crashed against the cliffs of South Corsica, France, mechanical engineer Dragan Tutić knew some were already drawing on power from the ocean to generate electricity. But a possible use for all that motion in the ocean that had been largely unexplored, as far as he knew, was turning its salty seawater into the fresh, drinkable variety on the spot. In the following two and a half years, Tutić and his team designed and tested a prototype for a wave-powered desalinator, and now hold hopes of deploying the system in regions where water scarcity threatens the survival of coastal communities. Read More
Looking rather like a 10-meter (33 ft) tall sunflower, IBM's High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system concentrates the sun’s radiation over 2,000 times on a single point and then transforms 80 percent of that into usable energy. Using a number of liquid-cooled microchannel receivers, each equipped with an array of multi-junction photovoltaic chips, each HCPVT can produce enough power, water, and cooling to supply several homes. Read More
Scientists in Australia have reported the discovery of huge freshwater reserves preserved in aquifers under the world's oceans. The water has remained shielded from seawater thanks to the accumulation of a protective layer of sediment and clay. And it’s not a local phenomenon. Such reserves are to be found under continental shelves off Australia, China, North America and South Africa. Read More
Although various alternative technologies are being developed, the large-scale desalination of seawater typically involves forcing it through a membrane that allows the water to pass through, but that traps the salt. These membranes can be costly, they can get fouled, and powerful pumps are required to push the water through. Now, however, scientists from the University of Texas at Austin and Germany’s University of Marburg are taking another approach. They’ve developed a chip that separates salt from water. Read More

In a typical desalination plant, pipes made from titanium or other expensive types of metal are an integral part of the process. Now, however, scientists have created a new type of piping material that is much cheaper to produce – potentially making desalination possible in countries that previously couldn’t afford it. Read More

When it comes to desalinating salt water, two of the main options are thermal distillation and reverse osmosis. Thermal distillation involves boiling the water and collecting the resulting freshwater condensation, while reverse osmosis involves pressurizing the salt water and forcing it through a semipermeable membrane, which will allow water molecules to pass through, but not salt. Both of these methods, however, require a considerable amount of energy – not as environmentally sound as they could be, nor entirely practical for use in developing nations, where electricity isn’t readily available. Now, however, a newly-developed membrane that incorporates carbon nanotubes could make desalination much quicker, easier and energy-efficient. Read More
Researchers from MIT's Field and Space Robotics Laboratory (FSRL) have designed a portable, solar-powered desalination system to bring drinkable water in disaster zones and remote regions around the globe. Designed to be cost-effective and easy to assemble, the prototype system uses solar panels to power high-pressure pumps which can deliver up to 80 gallons of clean water a day in a variety of weather conditions. Read More
The thought of folks suffering from extreme dehydration whilst stranded in a life raft at sea got industrial designer Kim Hoffman thinking of a way to turn all that sea water into safe, drinkable, life-saving refreshment. She took inspiration from portable desalination tools and created the Sea Kettle concept, a colorful life raft that uses heat from the sun to evaporate salty water and collect condensed run off in containers within the raft's structure. Read More