Making the sea water drinkable will be a piece of cake now as a new method has been invented to clean the sea water in a cheap and practically possible manner. The method was revealed by an Indo-American teen scientist Chaitanya Karamchedu from Portland, Oregon. According to his experiment, it is feasible to easily access way to provide clean water from salt water.
Karamchedu studying in Jesuit High School/Portland State University used hydrogel based desalination technique using saponified starch grafted polyacrylamide’s hydrophilic properties to harvest fresh water. The process does not require any thermal and electrical energy and filtered water has a comparable conductivity of 306.32 µS/cm which is comparable to the conductivity of distilled water at 200 µS/cm.
What’s striking is that the process has negligible pre-treatment and post-treatment cost which makes it usable on a small scale, especially for those people who are prone to lack of fresh water.
While testing the mass and conductivity of the treated water, it was found that the water had a total dissolved solids concentration of 513 mg/L which is well within WHO standard at <600 mg/L, compared to 35,000 mg/L for seawater.
Detailed analysis of the water constituents showed that water contained 25.8 mg/L of sodium and 36 mg/L of chloride. For a reference, the sea water contains 10,500 mg/L sodium and 19,000 mg/L chloride concentration. The relevant EPA secondary concentration levels (aesthetic standards) for sodium is 20 mg/L and for chloride is 250 mg/L. The process yielded over 70% of fresh water and also produced a commercially useful fertilizer, CaSO4, as a byproduct.
“1 in 8 people do not have access to clean water, it’s a crying issue that needs to be addressed. The best access of water is the sea, so 70 percent of the planet is covered in water and almost all of that is the ocean, but the problem is that’s salt water. Scientists looked at desalination, but it’s all still inaccessible to places and it would cost too much to implement on a large scale,” stated Karamchedu.
He, on the other hand, saw the problem from a different angle and focused on the 90 percent water that was not bonded instead of 10 per cent which was bonded. He then used polymer to filter out pure water and obtained that 90 percent water leaving the 10 percent that was bonded with salt.
This method is so cheap that it can be applied anywhere and the water crises can be overcome with its help. Millions of people can be benefitted when the operation will take place on a large scale Scientists all over the world are impressed by his work and he has received rewards for this. Intel’s International Science Fair provided him with $10,000 and Regeneron Science Talent Search with $2,000, RSTS is known to be the most prestigious competition and he came 1st out of 300 talented students with brilliant ideas. He stood second with the same project at MIT’s TechCon Conference.
His work doesn’t end with cleaning water, he has interests in other fields too such as in curing cancer. He’s currently working with his teachers on the same subject.