Humans suffering water scarcity would be an old concern after equipping this method at large. A group of international researchers has just introduced a technology that is capable of transforming undrinkable seawater into safe, clean drinking water in less than 30 minutes using metal-organic frameworks and sunlight.
Metal-organic frameworks are a class of compounds consisting of metal ions or clusters coordinated to organic ligands to form one-, two-, or three-dimensional structures. They are a subclass of coordination polymers, with the uniqueness of being massively porous.
The team of researchers developed a completely new MOF, named PSP-MIL-53, which can trap contaminants and salt from seawater. The material pulls the ions out of the liquid and holds them on its surface, resulting in refining the water.
The research team pointed out that their developed MOF is capable of decreasing the total dissolved salts (TDS) in the water from a higher ratio of TDS 3000 to converting it under TDS 500. That’s far below the WHO’s recommended outset of TDS 600 for safe drinking water.
The process of reducing the high ratio of seawaters dissolved salt into drinkable water was achieved in under 30 minutes. The all-new filtering process uses much less energy than conventional desalination methods. The team also showed that the MOF crystals could also be revived for reuse within four minutes by exposing them to sunlight.
“Desalination has been used to cater to rising drinking water shortages globally. Researchers from Australia said, “Due to the availability of salty water and seawater in abundance, and desalination processes being reliable makes treated water safe to be integrated within existing aquatic systems with insignificant health risks.”
The problem with conventional thermal desalination processes was that they rely on evaporation, and it typically requires high energy consumption. Other methods, such as reverse osmosis, are also highly energy-intensive and require a lot of chemicals for cleaning and dechlorination.
“Sunlight is the most abundant and renewable source of energy on Earth,” Professor Wang explained. “Our development of new adsorbent-based desalinization through the use of sunlight for regeneration provides an energy-efficient and environmentally-sustainable solution for purifying the water.”