MIT invented way to make salt water drinkable – Solar Solution
California is one of the states that has been majorly affected by drought. It’s only now that California mandated its citizens to put rations on their water consumption. With the increasingly alarming lack of water to supply the entire state to support one of the country’s largest agricultural producers, an MIT Team came up with an ingenious way to convert sea water to fresh water. This award-winning cos-effective yet environment-friendly method of removing the salt from sea water to make potable water is now the best solution for this water problem.
1 What MIT Had In-store for America and the Rest of the World!
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) developed a solar-powered electrodialysis machine that removes salt from water. This machine is connected to a series of batteries charged up by solar energy. This is a solution that covers a problem foreseen by the Securing Water for Food Agency. The agency says that since the world’s population will increase the need to find more supplies of fresh water to sustain the water needed by the growing number of people should be addressed. If not, by year 2025, about two-thirds of the world’s population could be living in severe water scarcity. That would mean that whether or not there is a drought, there would still be scarcity in the supply of potable water.
2 Where Did This Ingenious Plan Take Place?
The MIT Team of researchers were based in Alamogordo, New Mexico using the Brackish Groundwater National Desalination Research Facility. In there they were able to develop the electrodialysis machine. According to their research, the machine can remove salt from 7,950 liters (2,100 gallons) of sea water within 24 hours.
Although desalination plants have been used in the past especially in places prone to drought like Califronia and Chile, the process is quite costly. The solar-powered process is almost impossible to run maintenance and to use continuously because the expense cannot be sustained especially by developing countries. This method is currently being further studied and thus led to the MIT Team producing a less-costly way of producing fresh water supplies.
3 How different is the MIT’s Desalination Process Than The Old One?
It doesn’t just rely on solar heating to separate sea salt from fresh water but it adds a more technical process— electrodialysis.
On the MIT Energy Initiative Website, David L. Chandler of the MIT News Office explains how this process works. In the article he explains that Electrodialysis involves passing a stream of seawater between two opposing electrodes. This is an effective way of removing salt from seawater. Salty water has positive and negative ions and the electrodes serve as a magnet that pulls these ions out leaving only fresh water in the central flow. He also said that a series of membranes in the machine are used to separate the stream of fresh water from salty ones.
4 Other Forms of Producing Fresh Water
Reverse osmosis is a common purification method for fresh water to make the water safe enough to drink. Like the Electrodialysis, reverse osmosis uses membranes to separate larger particles in the water to make the water drinkable. Although they follow the same principle, electrodialysis tackles the fresh water problem differently than reverse osmosis. If reverse osmosis serves as a filter, electrodialysis serves as a complete process separating liquids and not solids from liquids.
Electrodialysis is a treatment developed by the MIT team to recover more water from the process than putting half of it to waste. They target 90% of the water that enters the machine. This is a considerable amount of water to recover compared to reverse osmosis’ process leaving only about 40 to 60 percent of the water. This would maximize the process of water recovery especially in places where there aren’t a lot of water.
5 Electrodialysis under Scrutiny in India
Establising a new water treatment need to be tested. Making their way to India where water scarcity is common because India houses about 16% of the world’s population but only about 4% of its fresh water source. They tested this water treatment in different villages in India.
With the method well-tested and proven, the MIT went back to America to show their newly discovered way of producing fresh water. The MIT Team sported the electrodialysis machine in order to produce a solution for the Californian drought.
6 From A Simple Research To The Best Drought Solution
MIT and Jain Irrigation Systems won $140,000 Desal Prize for the innovators of the electrodialysis machine. This machine is a sure shot solution not only for California but for plenty of countries who suffer from lack of potable water. With this water treatment, potable water would be more accessible to most parts of the world.