Environment Technology

Environment Technology

Clean Water: Tapping the Power of Forward Osmosis

Posted by admin on October 25, 2012 in Clean Energy with No Comments

A recent article in Science Daily describes a process through which a Yale doctoral student and his mentor are reusing and desalinating water.

The world’s water consumption is forcing scientists to come up with creative ways to provide more water for the world’s growing population. The undeniable fact is that we use more water than is available through the hydrologic cycle—the continuous movement of water on, above, and below the surface of the Earth.

The student, Robert McGinnis, and his mentor, Menachem Elimelech, have devised a process that uses the power of osmosis to harvest fresh water from sources that are not normally potable, including seawater and water that is considered dirty. By using low temperature heat, the scientists are able to desalinate water and also remove contaminants. This makes water that is usually unsanitary or unhealthy available for human consumption.

The scientists are using a system they call “forward osmosis.” This draws pure water from contaminated water, using heat to push the water towards concentrated salts. It is relatively easy (for scientists) to remove pure water from concentrated salts. The process uses little energy and effectively produces clean water for consumption.

The low level of heat (energy) necessary to facilitate the changes in the water has the water industry paying attention. It is currently an expensive process to desalinate and decontaminate water. But now, with this new process, clean water is attainable, and uses low levels of energy, making it an affordable and timely process for companies to implement.

Today’s population is a burden on the planet. Our natural resources are diminished. It is imperative to find environmentally sound methods to generate more resources. The forward osmosis process described above provides an encouraging sign that scientists are on the right path, that in time, and with concentration, our population problem will be assuaged by means of smart technology that uses low levels of energy and yields tremendous levels of clean, healthy water.

Whether you are a scientist, industry specialist, or concerned consumer, information about clean water methods are readily available. While the information in this article may pertain more directly to industry and science-oriented people, it has a direct line to the consumer, which, in the end, matters to us all.


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