Although Earth is teeming with water, freshwater is not so abundant. In fact, many areas across the planet are dealing with water shortages. UNICEF tells us that four billion people have to face water scarcity for a minimum of a month each and every year. That means half of the entire world population! Seawater desalination is indeed useful, but it comes at a significant energy cost. The world always knew that other methods of removing salt from water were needed.
According to SciTechDaily.com, nanostructures based on fluorine have proven useful in the researchers’ attempt to filter salt from water. It was the first achievement of this kind while using such a method, and that’s not even the best part. The new method is faster, uses less energy, uses less pressure, and is even more effective than traditional desalination methods.
Professor Yoshimitsu Itoh from the Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology of the University of Tokyo, explained as SciTechDaily.com quotes:
It was very exciting to see the results firsthand. The smaller of our test channels perfectly rejected incoming salt molecules, and the larger channels too were still an improvement over other desalination techniques and even cutting-edge carbon nanotube filters,
The real surprise to me was how fast the process occurred. Our sample worked around several thousand times faster than typical industrial devices, and around 2,400 times faster than experimental carbon nanotube-based desalination devices.
The fluorine-based desalination membrane developed for filtering salt is made up of nanoscale tubes that are lined with a material resembling Teflon that’s able to repel salts. The flow of water also gets improved with the least friction.
You can see the new research in Science.