Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are constantly proposing new methods for a myriad of goals, including water treatment and purification. In recent years they have invented very interesting solutions to improve the use of what is the most basic and indispensable resource.
One of them, recently published, for example, consists of an electrochemical method that allows to selectively eliminate even the smallest particles of pollution. In this post we are going to review 5 of the most brilliant inventions that MIT has generated in recent years to overcome the problem of water resources, specifically in order to purify water.
- Elimination of micro pollution in water
- Take advantage of plant filtering
- Make salt water drinkable thanks to the sun
- Graphene filter to desalinate water
- A washing machine filter allows water to be reused
Elimination of micro pollution in water
The application of an electrochemical process , in effect, allows to selectively eliminate chemical pollutants of different types, such as pesticides or residues from drugs.
Compared to traditional electrochemical separation methods, the new method developed at MIT offers a selective alternative to kill even very low levels of unwanted compounds, as explained in the journal Energy and Environmental Science.
Take advantage of plant filtering
The simple use of a twig is the proposal of scientists from MIT as a system to purify water and thus kill 99.9 percent of bacteria. The system is as simple as placing a twig and filtering water through it, using the same system as plants to filter the water.
The intention is to help minimize the incidence of waterborne diseases around the world simply by using a pinewood twig, removing the bark and inserting it into the end of a plastic tube that we will eventually use to absorb water and so on. filter it out, explains its inventor, Rohit Karnik, a mechanical engineer at MIT.
Make salt water drinkable thanks to the sun
This third proposal won the prize in the Desal Prize competition, an event organized by USAID that rewards low-cost desalination solutions, feasible for developing countries.
A team of MIT scientists in collaboration with the Jain Irrigation System company has invented a method to make this possible through the use of solar energy. To do this, solar panels are used to charge batteries that feed a system that removes salt from the water through electrodialysis. A very practical invention that, however, still has to lower its costs.
Graphene filter to desalinate water
MIT scientists David Cohen-Tanugi and Jeffrey C. Grossman propose a nanoporous filter to desalinate seawater. Specifically, they have developed a graphene filter to purify salt water much faster than before.
As explained in Physorg, graphene nanopores can filter salt from water at a much higher rate than reverse osmosis, the best commercial desalination technology available.
Cohen-Tanugi says his system can run “hundreds of times faster than current techniques, with the same pressure” or deliver the same performance at lower pressure. If applied, at least as it is in theory, it could be desalinated at a lower cost and, therefore, popularize the invention.
Ending the water crisis is the challenge for these scientists, given the measures applied to date depend not only on technology, but also on geopolitical issues, as well as already endemic social inequalities .
In their case, they propose this filter as a giant step towards extending its use to regions that until now could not afford the costs of current desalination technology. Although, on the other hand, it has a great drawback, and it is the need for adequate treatment of the water used to carry out the process, since it cannot be directly discharged into marine ecosystems.
A washing machine filter allows water to be reused
Chris Lai, Sasha Huang and Alina Rwei were awarded in the MIT “Water Innovation Prize” competition, which seeks new solutions to make better use of the liquid element.
The award went to the creation of the startup “AquaFresco”, formed by the three university students in order to develop their invention , a filter capable of reusing 95 percent of the water in the washing machines in the next wash.
AquaFresco’s objective is to reduce water consumption in the hospitality sector, in laundries or in hospitals, let’s say. “Basically the same batch of water could be used to wash clothes for up to six months,” they conclude Their creators.
MIT is a private university located in Cambridge, Massachusetts (United States), which includes a faculty and five schools. Its main characteristic is its focus on research and technological innovation from engineering
Founded in 1861, it was created to support the growing industrialization of the country. Without abandoning conventional scientific research, he placed great emphasis from the beginning on applied technology, usually in close collaboration with industry.
It is, therefore, a university with a strong business culture, currently very oriented to the new challenges of a society that aspires to be low in carbon and to solve the problem of supplying basic resources for life , such as water. . In fact, at a time as important for humanity as it is today, MIT plays an important role.
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