Hey there, folks! Have you ever thought about generating electricity while purifying wastewater? Well, hold on to your hats because a domestic research team has developed a membrane that can do just that!
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) has announced that a team of researchers from the Electronic Materials Research Center and the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Myongji University have jointly developed an advanced membrane that can simultaneously provide drinking water and generate continuous electricity from various water resources, such as sewage/wastewater, seawater, and groundwater.
This “sandwich-like” membrane comprises a porous membrane that filters water at the bottom and a conductive polymer that generates electricity at the top. The membrane is designed to purify wastewater by controlling the direction of the water flow. Water flowing perpendicularly to the membrane generates direct current by the movement of ions along the horizontal direction.
But wait, there’s more! The membrane can reject more than 95% of the contaminants of sizes less than 10 nm (one hundred-millionth of a meter). That means microplastics and heavy metal particles in wastewater can be removed, and continuous electricity can be generated for more than 3 hours with only 10 µl (microliter) of water. That’s some serious power!
And the best part? The membrane can be manufactured using a simple printing process without size restrictions, which means it has a high potential to be commercialized due to low manufacturing costs and processing time. That’s right, folks, this technology could be coming to a water treatment plant near you!
Dr Ji-Soo Jang from KIST expressed his opinion on the research, saying that, “As a novel technology that can solve water shortage problem and produce ecofriendly energy simultaneously, it also has great potential applications in the water quality management system and emergency power system.”
The research team is currently conducting follow-up research to generate electricity while improving the water quality of wastewater to the level of drinking water by developing the membrane for an actual factory. So, not only will this technology generate electricity, but it will also improve the quality of our drinking water. Talk about a win-win situation!
This research was conducted as a major project of KIST with the support of the Ministry of Science and ICT and was published in the latest issue of ‘Advanced Materials’, an international journal of materials.
So, there you have it, folks, a membrane that can generate electricity while purifying wastewater. Who knew water treatment could be so electrifying?