Electrostatically Supported Nanopore Based Water Desalination

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Approximately 663 million people worldwide lack access to safe water and 2.4 billion people worldwide lack access to a toilet (World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme – Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2015). Given 97 percent of our planet's water is seawater, the desalination of seawater, i.e., removes salt, is critical to providing safe water to the millions of people who lack safe water. Unfortunately, current seawater desalination technologies do not play a relevant role in providing fresh water due to high energy costs associated with such technologies.

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a system and method for providing water filtration using electrostatically controlled nanopores in a thin film. Electrostatic charging blocks salt ions from passing through the pores, which allows for larger water flow for the same applied water pressure, lowering the energy required to filter salt from seawater and other salty water sources. The external voltage is adjustable, allowing for filter tuning for best performance. In addition, this technology removes other unwanted ions dissolved in water, such as lead ions.

-Uses less energy
-Higher water flow rate
-More productive water filters
-Removes other unwanted ions
-Compatible with existing reverse osmosis systems

Potential Applications:
-Desalination processes
-Safe water
Apr 3, 2018
Utility Patent
United States

Apr 3, 2017
United States
Purdue Office of Technology Commercialization
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