Researchers Develop Solar Energy Water Desalination Process

Upper- advanced
2020/08/14 20:56

Today's Vocabulary

1.brackish (adj)
(of water ) is salty, dirty, and unpleasant 

2. filtration (n)
the act of passing a liquid or gas  through a piece of equipment in order to remove solid pieces or other substances

3. porous (adj)
something that is porous has many small holes, so liquid or air can pass through, especially slowly 

4. configured (v)
to arrange something or change the controls on a computer or other device so that it can be used in a particular way


5. viability (n)
ability to continue to exist or develop as a living being

6. potable (adj)
clean and safe to drink 

Researchers Develop Solar Energy Water Desalination Process

A team of researchers from Australia and China has developed a way to desalinate and purify salty or brackish water into potable drinking water using solar energy, a process that could provide hope for developing areas without reliable or abundant electricity.

The World Health Organization says about 2 billion people worldwide do not have access to water that is safe to drink. Contaminated water can lead to cholera, dysentery, typhoid and a host of other diseases. And the WHO says that situation will only worsen in the next five years.

In a study published  in the science journal Nature Sustainability, the scientists said they had created a sustainable solution that relies on sunlight to jump-start the filtration process instead of heat or electricity.

Along with sunlight, the other key factor in their process is a special, incredibly porous metal compound composed of metal ions configured into a crystalline pattern.

The researchers enhanced the viability of this material by adding another material to its pores, called PSP-MIL-53.

After testing this material on both natural saltwater and synthetic saltwater, they found that the compound was able to absorb enough water in 30 minutes to create nearly 151 liters of fresh drinking water per single kilogram of the absorption material. They also discovered that this drinking water was even cleaner than WHO’s official guidelines.

The researchers say the material could have other applications as well, for example, in mineral mining. The next step, they say, is getting their process out of the lab and into the field.


  1. Not being able to get clean drinking water is a big problem in many places. What are some ways we can help people get clean drinking water?
  2. The world’s population is increasing rapidly. Getting clean water for everyone might become difficult in the future. Think of three ways we can avoid this problem.

“Water is the driving force of all nature.”

Leonardo da Vinci

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.”

Lao Tzu