MIT Researchers Were Able To Purify Contaminated Water With Electricity

MIT scientists use electricity-based technique to clean contaminated water.

MIT researchers have come up with a new method of purifying contaminated water.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology were able to purify contaminated water by zapping it with electricity. The new process reportedly is able to clean up water regardless of its levels of contamination and it does not require that much power.

Xia Su, a postdoctoral researcher at MIT working on wastewater purification, led the development of the new tool, The technique involves special polymers that are applied to electrodes to bind with pollutants. Each polymer will be designed to attack a specific pollutant. Two electrodes, one positively charged and the other negatively will be placed inside the contaminated water.

Whilst inside the water, the electrodes will generate enough power to create an electrical circuit which attracts the ions from the contaminants, purifying the water in the process. According to the scientists, the chemical binding is very specific, meaning that it will catch even the lowest amounts of pollutants.

“What we’d like to do is have a technology where we can flip the switch and we can do the separation. We flip the switch off…and we are able to regenerate our systems.” Said Alan Hatton, an MIT Chemical Engineering Professor.

Scientists used a green liquid that got its color from a pharmaceutical pollutant. Once the liquid underwent Su’s purification process, the water was 95 to 98 percent clean. According to Siu, leaving the process for extended durations would reduce the number of contaminants in the water. This would eventually remove all pollutants, thus making the water drinkable.

While other methods to purify water exist on the market, MIT researchers argued that their new process is more efficient. The technique is energy-efficient and generates less byproducts.

Su and his team have also partnered up with agricultural companies in the United States to clean streams where agricultural waste, such as pesticides and fertilizers, flows into. They also intend to use their technique on industrial contaminated water sometime in the future.

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