Is Drinking Desalinated Seawater Healthy?According to a study conducted at the Politecnico di Torino in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (USA) and published in the journal, Nature Communications, a new innovative membrane for reverse osmosis will greatly improve the performance of desalination of seawater, with significantly reduced costs.

Many countries are currently desalinating seawater in response to water shortages due to climate change, and this is great as it provides filtered, clean water for drinking as well as for agriculture and other purposes, but one big fact has been holding developing countries, who probably most need this technology, from being able to do the same – exorbitant costs!

The new study has opened up a new path in the development of technologies for membrane-based desalination processes. This could hopefully lead to some really innovative solutions for the current water scarcity issue in several countries.

The research focused on desalination by reverse osmosis, and for the first time ever, more is understood about the mechanisms regulating the transport of water from saltwater side to the fresh water side of the membrane.

While previous studies mainly focused on the transport process inside the membrane, we have shifted the attention on what was happening on the surface, where the solution to the puzzle could be actually found.” said researchers.

According to this study, current manufacturing techniques of zeolite membranes cause the closure of more than 99.9% of available pore mouths, enabling water molecules to permeate only a minimal fraction of surface pore openings and causing a bottleneck effect that both drastically reduces the membrane permeability and slows down the overall water transport through the membrane.

This is great news because researchers estimate that membranes manufactured to new criteria as per their study will greatly reduce costs, and desalinated seawater is a viable alternative for drinking water:

Advances in membrane technology have made desalination of seawater and brackish waters an increasingly viable alternative to produce safe drinking-water. For example, desalination has been gaining foothold in the water-scarce WHO Region of the Eastern Mediterranean, along coastal areas of Australia, on the West Coast of the USA and in many Small Island States including Singapore and Maldives. With this development comes a clear public health argument to provide guidance on ensuring the safety of drinking-water produced with this technology. [fusion_builder_container hundred_percent=”yes” overflow=”visible”][fusion_builder_row][fusion_builder_column type=”1_1″ background_position=”left top” background_color=”” border_size=”” border_color=”” border_style=”solid” spacing=”yes” background_image=”” background_repeat=”no-repeat” padding=”” margin_top=”0px” margin_bottom=”0px” class=”” id=”” animation_type=”” animation_speed=”0.3″ animation_direction=”left” hide_on_mobile=”no” center_content=”no” min_height=”none”][WHO]

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