Article Last Updated: May 2022
Water Desalination System: Sea water into drinking water in a few minutes?
“Water, water every where but not a single drop to drink” [paraphrased]. The Rime of the Ancient Mariner,” by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
Why Can’t You Drink Sea Water?
As many of us know, we can not drink water from the sea. This is because our bodies can not adequately deal with all the salt in the water.
If you ignore this advice and drink it anyway then know that drinking lots of sea water could kill you. It is also the reason why you can’t drink it.
However, a new water desalination technology can change all this. It can also change a whole lot of lives in the process.
Purifying, cleaning and treating dirty water is notoriously both expensive and difficult. Places like California that are prone to severe drought know this all too well.
But places in poorer countries have even less money to play with. This makes any new invention that can make this process both easy and affordable worth shouting about.
The New Water Desalination System Method Called ‘Pervaporation’
The process of removing salt from water and making it drinkable is called “desalination”.
A new water desalination technique called pervaporation has been developed by researchers at the Alexandria University in Egypt. The research team is made up of a team of experts.
Experts from agricultural engineering, oceanography, biosystems engineering and chemical engineering and they came together to create this solution.
Water Science and Technology.
How Pervaporation Works
The team have designed and created a synthetic membrane that filters large salt particles and impurities. All this while the remaining water is heated, vapourised, and condensed into drinkable water.
Why is Pervaporation so important?
What the best part?
It is made with materials that are cheap and easy to source locally. Also, ‘Pervaporation’ water treatment technology does not need any electricity to work.
Both of these factors are very important to make them viable in developing countries. DO you want to know the best part? The pervaporation technique not only makes sea water drinkable. It is also capable of removing sewage and dirt from it too!
Helmy El-Zanfaly is a professor of water contamination at Egypt’s National Research Centre.
He told Scidev.net, “The technology implemented in the study is much better than reverse osmosis. The technology currently used in Egypt and most of the countries in the Middle East and North Africa.” He continues by saying, “It can effectively desalinate water with high concentration of salt like that of the Red Sea. Where desalination costs more and yields less.”
Issues With Pervaporation
The sad part is there is still a lot of work before it goes into action. The researchers working on this still need to test it out on a bigger scale to make sure their theories are correct.
They also need to resolve the issue of how to deal with all the waste. Specifically, waste that comes from the water treatment process.
New technologies like this can not come soon enough.
According to Water.org there are some 750 million people on the planet that do not have access to clean drinkable water.
This problem is responsible for approximately 840,000 deaths each year. To put this into context, that is about the whole population size of San Francisco 🙁