Wednesday, 31 March 2010

New approach to water desalination

A new approach to desalination being developed by researchers at MIT and in Korea could lead to small, portable 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. As an added bonus, the system would also remove many contaminants, viruses and bacteria at the same time.

The new approach, called ion concentration polarization, is described in a paper by Postdoctoral Associate Sung Jae Kim and Associate Professor Jongyoon Han, both in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and colleagues in Korea. The paper was published on March 21 in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.
A single unit of the new desalination device, fabricated on a layer of silicone. In the Y-shaped channel (in red), seawater enters from the right, and fresh water leaves through the lower channel at left, while concentrated brine leaves through the upper channel.

WHO has just published a report from a study jointly funded with DFID on the resilience of water and sanitation services to climate changes expected by 2020 and 2030. The Vision 2030 study is the first global assessment of potential resilience in the sector and shows that much more needs to be done to improve planning in the light of climate change.
R4D 30/03 Will water and sanitation services be able to withstand climate change?