Scientists cook up new recipes for taking salt out of seawater

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As populations boom and chronic droughts persist, coastal cities like Carlsbad in Southern California have increasingly turned to ocean desalination to supplement a dwindling fresh water supply. Now scientists at the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) investigating how to make desalination less expensive have hit on promising design rules for making so-called “thermally responsive” ionic liquids to separate water from salt.

Ionic liquids are a liquid salt that binds to water, making them useful in forward osmosis to separate contaminants from water. (See Berkeley Lab Q&A, “Moving Forward on Desalination”) Even better are thermally responsive ionic liquids as they use thermal energy rather than electricity, which is required by conventional reverse osmosis (RO) desalination for the separation. The new Berkeley Lab study, published recently in the journal Nature Communications Chemistry, studied the chemical structures of several types of ionic liquid/water to determine what “recipe” would work best.

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Scientists just found a new way to make fuel from seawater

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Could this help reignite hydrogen as a renewable fuel?

Though hydrogen fuel eliminates tailpipe pollution, most hydrogen fuel is made from natural gas, a fossil fuel. It is possible to make it from a cleaner source: water. With electrodes in water, electricity can split the hydrogen from oxygen, giving you pure hydrogen. But until now, the processes have relied on purified freshwater, which is expensive. For the use of hydrogen fuel to scale up, we need a different source, one that’s cheaper and doesn’t use up water we could be drinking instead.

Now new research from Stanford scientists demonstrates a new method for making hydrogen fuel directly from ocean water. “Right now, the need for hydrogen is still relatively limited because the so-called hydrogen economy hasn’t taken off yet, although it’s in its early growing stage,” says Hongjie Dai, a chemistry professor at Stanford and coauthor of a new paper about the research. “You could imagine there would be more demand for hydrogen.”

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New water desalination technology makes ocean water drinkable

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New method devised using a small electrical field that will remove the salt from seawater.

Chemists with the University of Texas and the University of Marburg have devised a method of using a small electrical field that will remove the salt from seawater.

 

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Sahara Forest Project – multi-technology synergy to grow food in the desert

Revegetation and creation of green jobs through profitable production of food, freshwater, biofuels and electricity.

The Sahara Forest Project in Qatar is putting together a number of different systems in a complex project intended to “produce food, fresh water and clean energy in deserts using seawater.” The project uses a number of different systems where the waste by-products from one process are used as feedstock for another. It began by focusing on what was readily abundant: seawater, sun, and desert sand, and looking to what was needed: food, energy, and clean water.

 

 

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Turning Seawater Into Jet Fuel

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Faced with global warming and potential oil shortages, the US navy is experimenting with making jet fuel from seawater.

Navy chemists have processed seawater into unsaturated short-chain hydrocarbons that with further refining could be made into kerosene-based jet fuel. But they will have to find a clean energy source to power the reactions if the end product is to be carbon neutral.

 

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Europe’s Biggest Oceanarium Will Be Located In Moscow

Europe’s Biggest Oceanarium Will Be Located In Moscow 

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It is expected that the proposed enormous oceanarium in Moscow will form part of an amusement complex complete with a cinema, hotel, business center, shopping mall and many restaurants. According to news sources, the Eurasian country of Kazakhstan, which is the world’s largest landlocked country, is financing the construction of one of the new oceanarium.

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Vertical Coastal Farms Could Use Seawater To Grow Crops In The Future

Vertical Coastal Farms Could Use Seawater To Grow Crops In The Future

 Vertical farms of the future

Thought up by Italian architecture firm Studiomobile, vertical seawater farms sticking up out of the water could covert the salt-laden liquid into freshwater for crops. It’s all about producing humidity. A series of vents would gather humidity from the seawater to cool the greenhouses and, as it collects, irrigate the crops inside.  (Pics)

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New Chlorine-tolerant Material Could Streamline Desalination Processes

New Chlorine-tolerant Material Could Streamline Desalination Processes 

 

Getting access to drinking water is a daily challenge for more than one billion people in the world. Desalination may help relieve such water-stressed populations by filtering salt from abundant seawater, and there are more than 7,000 desalination plants worldwide, 250 operating in the United States alone. However, the membranes that these plants use to filter out salt tend to break down when exposed to an essential ingredient in the process: chlorine.

 

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