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Osmosis

If California’s drought continues, residents may be drinking the recycled water from the S...

Drinking recycled urine may be the stuff of Dune novels, and a drastic response to California’s ongoing drought. But officials in Santa Clara County in the heart of Silicon Valley are hoping its new high-tech purification plant will help residents get past the ick factor and eventually allow treated wastewater to flow through their faucets in a "toilet to tap" scenario. Opened in July, the $72 million Silicon Valley Advanced Water Purification Center is the most advanced such plant in the US, and uses a multi-step system of microfiltration, reverse osmosis and ultraviolet rays to produce water of higher quality than typical drinking water.  Read More

A new study conducted at MIT suggests that tweaking the size of a costly membrane could he...

A new study conducted at MIT has examined the potential of pressure-retarded osmosis (PRO), a technique that generates electricity from the difference in salinity between two pools of water separated by a membrane. According to the researchers, tweaking the size of the membrane could help generate electricity much more cheaply than ever before.  Read More

Associate Professor Darren Sun with some of his Multi-use Titanium Dioxide, prior to its i...

Graphene could soon be facing some competition for the unofficial title of “World’s Most Useful New Substance.” Led by Associate Professor Darren Sun, a team of scientists at Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University have spent the past five years developing a material known as Multi-use Titanium Dioxide. Their research indicates that it can be used to produce hydrogen and clean water from wastewater, double the lifespan of batteries, create antibacterial wound dressings ... and more.  Read More

Diagram of the experimental device that sees the osmotic transport of water through a tran...

In November 2009, Norwegian state owned electricity company Statkraft opened the world’s first osmotic power plant prototype, which generates electricity from the difference in the salt concentration between river water and sea water. While osmotic power is a clean, renewable energy source, its commercial use has been limited due to the low generating capacities offered by current technology – the Statkraft plant, for example, has a capacity of about 4 kW. Now researchers have discovered a new way to harness osmotic power that they claim would enable a 1 m2 (10.7 sq. ft.) membrane to have the same 4 kW capacity as the entire Statkraft plant.  Read More

Lessons learned aboard the International Space Station have contributed to the development...

When they’re living aboard spacecraft, astronauts presently rely on mechanically-driven life support systems. Not only is there a danger of these systems breaking down, but maintenance can be challenging, as they’re always in use. While redundant duplicate systems could take over in such situations, they add to the expense and weight of a spacecraft, and also take up valuable space. Instead, NASA is exploring another possibility – the passive “Water Walls” system, which would use the principle of forward osmosis to perform tasks such as water filtration, air filtration, and even food growth.  Read More

Filling of Forward Osmosis Bag outer partition with 'dirty' solution from the Input Storag...

Atlantis may have taken off on the last ever space shuttle mission last week but that doesn’t mean it has finished racking up firsts. Along with ferrying its last batch of supplies to the International Space Station (ISS), Atlantis is also carrying a urine recycling system that is designed to convert astronaut’s urine into a sports drink. The Forward Osmosis Bag (FOB) system will reportedly be tested by one of the four-man crew towards the end of the shuttle’s 12-day mission.  Read More

Prof. Somenath Mitra has developed a membrane incorporating carbon nanotubes, that could l...

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

This concentrator photovoltaic unit at IBM Research is being used to collect data to optim...

In spite of the technological age we live in it is reported that one-in-five people on this planet still don’t have access to clean drinking water. To help correct this imbalance, a new, energy-efficient desalination plant with an expected production capacity of 30,000 cubic meters per day will be built in the city of Al Khafji, Saudi Arabia, to serve its 100,000 people. Known more for its computers, IBM has joined forces with KACST (King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology) to build the plant that will be powered by ultra-high concentrator photovoltaic (UHCPV) technology - a system with a concentration greater than 1,500 suns.  Read More

The new reverse osmosis membrane will help desalination plants avoid costly clogging and m...

Increasing numbers of countries turning to desalination plants to bolster dwindling water supplies with most new facilities making use of reverse osmosis technology. Unfortunately these systems are susceptible to clogging and membrane damage, which places higher energy demands on the pumping system and necessitates costly cleanup and membrane replacement. Now researchers have unveiled a new class of reverse-osmosis membrane that resists the clogging that typically occurs when seawater, brackish water and waste-water are purified.  Read More

A single unit of the new desalination device - in the Y-shaped channel (in red), seawater ...

Following natural disasters such as the Haiti earthquake and Hurricane Katrina, potable water is often in high demand and short supply. In both of those instances, the disaster zones were near the sea, but converting salty seawater to potable fresh water usually requires a large amount of dependable electrical power and large-scale desalination plants - neither of which were available in the disaster areas. A new approach to desalination, called ion concentration polarization, could lead to small, portable desalination units that could be powered by solar cells or batteries and could deliver enough fresh water to supply the needs of a family or small village.  Read More

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