New Chinese membrane promises to desalinate seawater and combat global water shortage

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Researchers in China have created an innovative membrane that could be used in seawater desalination processes , purifying oily wastewater and addressing the global issue of water scarcity. The information can be found in an article published in the scientific journal Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells.

The team of scientists, led by He Bin of the Academy of Sciences of Canton Province, has developed a low-cost, easy-to-scale and highly efficient membrane that exhibits remarkable oil resistance, state-run Xinhua news agency reports.

The technology is based on steam generation using solar energy through photothermal conversion. During this process, the membrane separates the water vapor from the water source, either seawater or wastewater.

This approach is considered a“sustainable and highly efficient” solution to address long-term water shortages worldwide, according to Xinhua.

In the study, the researchers improved the hydrophilic capacity of the membrane, which is composed of a material called polydopamine, by adding diiron trioxide and KH-550, an amino-functional coupling agent that improves adhesion between inorganic substrates and organic polymers.

The membrane and its hydrophilic properties allow the process to generate steam with solar energy with an efficiency of 90.33%. In addition, the scientists highlighted that the evaporation rate also showed excellent performance: “The evaporation rate remains high, even in oil-contaminated water, thanks to the improved hydrophilicity and antifouling capacity of the modified membrane”.

In summary, this research offers a new perspective in the search for sustainable and efficient solutions to combat global water scarcity through desalination and purification of different types of water.

Sources:(EFE, Solar Energy Materials and Solar Cells, Xinhua)

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