New seawater desalination technology

Desalination plants Credit: u_nnjglrk13q, pixabay

The new efficient technology extracts drinkable water from the sea while storing electricity.

With water scarcity reaching critical levels, especially in regions like Spain where unsustainable water stress looms large, urgent solutions are needed. Responding to this pressing challenge, researchers at New York University (NYU) have developed a new desalination technology.

How it works

The system works by directing seawater into two pathways: one for salinization and the other for desalination. Two extra channels hold the electrolyte and redox molecule, separated by a membrane. Through electrochemical reactions, sodium ions are extracted, and freshwater is generated. By adjusting the time seawater stays in the system, it can produce drinkable water either in one go or in batches. The team also used advanced 3D printing techniques, offered by the NYU Maker Space in its development.

Additionally, the system’s ability to mix saltwater and freshwater facilitates the conversion of chemical energy into electricity, essentially transforming the desalination unit into a battery. This unique capability enables it to store surplus energy from solar and wind power sources and discharge it when necessary, ensuring reliability and scalability. Operating effectively across various temperatures without deterioration, this technology holds great promise for sustainable energy storage and water desalination.

Better future

Integrating redox flow batteries with desalination technologies represents a significant leap forward in addressing water scarcity challenges. This new system gives hope for a better future because it is efficient, dependable, and can grow as needed. It’s a solution for the increasing water problems we face and the need to better ways to make seawater drinkable.

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Written by

Eva Alvarez


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