Access to clean drinking water remains an issues around the globe, with 663 million people lacking access to safe water sources. Current scientific methods that work to remove small and diluted pollutants from water tend to be either energy or chemical intensive. New research from a team at MIT provides insight into a new process of removing even extremely low levels of unwanted compounds.
The system uses a novel method, relying on an electrochemical process to selectively remove organic contaminants such as pesticides, chemical waste products, and pharmaceuticals, even when these are present in small yet dangerous concentrations. The approach also addresses key limitations of conventional electrochemical separation methods, such as acidity fluctuations and losses in performance that can happen as a result of competing surface reactions.
“Such systems might ultimately be useful for water purification systems for remote areas in the developing world, where pollution from pesticides, dyes, and other chemicals are often an issue in the water supply,” says Xiao Su, co-author of the paper. “The highly efficient, electrically operated system could run on power from solar panels in rural areas for example.”