Scientists aim to find a solution to the increasing drinking water problem with solar energy. A new study offers an original method by which solar energy can be used to obtain drinking water sustainably.
Although approximately 70 percent of the Earth, which is our only home, is covered with water, almost all of this water consists of undrinkable salt water. To put it more clearly, only 3 percent of all water on Earth is potable freshwater. The remaining 97 percent is salty waters.
According to the data of the World Health Organization (WHO), approximately 2 billion people living in the world have problems accessing clean potable water. Moreover, the global climate change we are experiencing increases this number every day. Scientists continue to work on new ways to turn salt water into fresh water.
A team of scientists in Australia and China has proposed a new method to purify salt water that does not require heat or electricity but instead uses solar energy entirely. In the study published in Nature, scientists have achieved about 150 litres of clean drinking water per 1 kilogram of metal material.
According to the information passed, scientists used a super-porous material for the brine treatment process. Moreover, the method used not only separates salt from saltwater but manages to produce water that is cleaner than the official WHO recommended water purity.
"Thermal desalination processes performed by evaporation require energy intensive," lead author Huanting Wang, a professor of chemical engineering at Monash University in Australia, explains the study. He stated that they use the most abundant energy source on the planet, namely the sun.
"Other technologies such as reverse osmosis have some barriers such as high energy consumption and the use of chemicals in membrane cleaning and chlorine removal." Wang said that the methods currently used cannot be adequately handled in places where the electrical infrastructure is not "good" and that their practices benefit from solar energy that can be accessed from almost anywhere, so they are sustainable.