According to research published by the journal Nature, a team of researchers managed to transform brackish water and seawater into safe and clean drinking water in less than 30 minutes using metal-organic frames (MOF) and sunlight, which is good news for millions of people around the world who do not have immediate access to this vital fluid. In the paper, the scientists claim that they managed to filter harmful particles from the water and generate 139.5 liters of clean water per kilogram of MOF per day in a more efficient way than any desalination process currently used.

“Desalination has been used to address water scarcity around the world. Due to the availability of brackish and sea water, and because desalination processes are reliable, the treated water can be integrated into existing aquatic systems with minimal health risks. But evaporative thermal desalination processes are energy-intensive and other technologies, such as reverse osmosis, have several drawbacks, including high energy consumption and the use of chemicals in cleaning and bleaching membranes, ”explained Huanting Wang, from Department of Chemical Engineering at Monash University, Australia, lead author of the research.

Professor Huanting Wang highlighted that this work has opened a new direction to design materials sensitive to stimuli for desalination and purification in an efficient and sustainable way through metal-organic structures, which are compounds of metal ions that form a crystalline material. with the largest surface of any known material.

“Our work provides an interesting new route for designing functional materials to use solar energy to reduce energy demand and improve the sustainability of water desalination. These sunlight-sensitive MOFs can potentially be further functionalized to obtain low-energy and environmentally friendly mineral extraction media for sustainable mining and other related applications. “

Fresh water is a non-renewable resource, hence the importance of finding new methods of access to it. Hopefully this technology serves everyone and not just refreshments.