Engineers from the University of Illinois have used nanotechnology to model a new membrane that can filter salt from seawater at higher volumes than ever before. The membrane is made from a nanometer-thin layer of molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) studded with tiny holes called nanopores. By "pulling" clean water through itself while filtering out salt and other compounds, the membrane has the potential to make desalination plants much more energy-efficient.
A new study from the University of Victoria has, for the first time, estimated the total volume of groundwater present on the Earth. The results show that we're using up the water supply quicker than it can be naturally replaced, while future research will seek to determine exactly how long it will be until modern groundwater runs dry.
As access to clean water continues to be an issue throughout the developing world, there's an increased demand for easier ways to turn contaminated and salty water into something you can drink. Researchers at MIT may have found a solution using a method they are calling shock electrodialysis. It uses electric shock waves to separate contaminated or salty water into two separate streams, with a natural barrier between each one.
A team of astronomers has made the first observations with a cutting-edge water-hunting instrument. The instrument, known as the Swedish–ESO PI receiver for APEX (SEPIA), is not only suited for identifying signatures of water and other molecules in the Milky Way but also in other galaxies, and it may even be capable of detecting ancient water dating back to the early Universe.
An Israeli-Palestinian NGO is using solar and wind energy to transform the lives of a marginalized community of Palestinian famers and shepherds. Founded in 2009, Comet-ME has helped develop small off-grid systems that now provide an average of 2.5 kW h per family per day across 20 communities.
Researchers from the University of Alexandria have developed a cheaper, simpler and potentially cleaner way to turn seawater into drinking water than conventional methods. The breakthrough, which could have a huge impact on rural areas of the Middle East and North Africa, improves on an existing method of separating liquids and solids known as pervaporation by using a new salt-attracting membrane embedded with cellulose acetate powder.
Currently, if you want to check water supplies for the presence of toxic bacteria, you have to take a water sample and then culture it in a lab over several days. In the meantime, it's impossible to say if the water source is safe to use. A group of students from the Technical University of Denmark, however, have created a sensor that they say can detect bacteria in water instantly, on the spot.
The first color images returned of Pluto by NASA's New Horizons spacecraft reveals blue skies and surface water-ice deposits. Previous non-color images of the dwarf planet's tenuous atmosphere have displayed a surprisingly complex multilayer structure, and the new color images have allowed scientists to deduce the composition of the haze.
In a bid to help bring greater access to clean drinking water to the developing world, WaterStillar has created a solar-distillation system designed to produce clean drinking water from almost any source. Conceived as a cheap, efficient, modular system that can be scaled up to produce thousands of liters per day, Water Works is installed with no upfront costs and requires minimal maintenance or training to operate.
Portable water filtration systems have generally been constrained by their ability to eliminate only bacteria and Cryptosporidium (a microscopic, diarrhea-causing parasite), but not viruses. Purification systems get rid of viruses, but take longer to do so. The MSR Guardian is different – it acts as both filter and purifier and is claimed to eliminate all biological threats you might find in even the dirtiest of water.