For many regions of the Middle East and North Africa, one of the main problems is still the problem of the shortage of fresh water. The most affordable way to solve it today is desalination of seawater by reverse osmosis. However, this technology is associated with the creation of expensive infrastructure and high energy consumption.
Scientists at the University of Alexandria Mona Naim, Mahmoud Eleva, Ahmed El-Shafei and Abir Moner have developed a simple, inexpensive, and potentially more environmentally friendly method of desalinating seawater.
This technology is based on the separation of liquids and solids by the pervaporation method, which is a two-stage process. At the first stage, the liquid is filtered through a ceramic or polymer membrane. The filtered water is then subjected to evaporation, after which the steam is condensed and the condensate is collected.
Pervaporation is a more efficient, cleaner, less energy-intensive technology and has been in use for many years. Egyptian scientists have refined it by creating a new membrane that contains cellulose acetate powder, which promotes the process of pervaporation.
However, researchers have yet to substantiate the commercial viability of their invention. If all goes well, the new technology could be a promising alternative for developing countries where water and electricity are scarce.