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Livermore lab uses carbon nanotubes for cheaper desalination

Unhappy about the coming water shortages? Us too — that’s why it’s our #2 Foresight Nanotech Challenge. John Faith brings our attention to a Technology Review story by Aditi Risbud on nanotech for water desalination:

Cheap Drinking Water from the Ocean
Carbon nanotube-based membranes will dramatically cut the cost of desalination

A water desalination system using carbon nanotube-based membranes could significantly reduce the cost of purifying water from the ocean. The technology could potentially provide a solution to water shortages both in the United States, where populations are expected to soar in areas with few freshwater sources, and worldwide, where a lack of clean water is a major cause of disease.

The new membranes, developed by researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL), could reduce the cost of desalination by 75 percent, compared to reverse osmosis methods used today, the researchers say.

Atomically-precise filters would do even more, but this is a start. —Christine

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