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Experts from Monash University in Australia have come up with a method that can turn saltwater into safe drinking water in just a few minutes.
The new method was approved by the World Health Organization (WHO) because it was able to produce purified water with a total dissolved solids (TDS) volume of less than 500 parts per million, indicating that the water is safe for consumption. The TDS volume measures the number of particles in drinking water and tells whether it is potable or not.
To come up with the new method, the researchers used a type of crystal called a metal-organic framework (MOF), along with sunlight, to purify water. This porous crystal removes salt from brackish water or seawater that passes through it. The purification process can be completed in just half an hour.
After filtering water, the MOF can be cleaned and reused by exposing it to sunlight. It takes only four minutes to remove the salt and sediment that the MOF soaked up.
Professor Huanting Wang, the study’s lead researcher, stated that their team’s desalination method is energy-efficient and eco-friendly because it depends on sunlight, which is the most abundant source of energy. He compared it with other desalination methods such as evaporation, which uses a huge amount of energy to heat up and purify saltwater.
Wang added that the process is safe and does not put the health of marine life at risk because unlike many other water purification processes, the new method does not use harmful chemicals.