Unlike some other approaches to desalination, this one requires little infrastructure, so it might be useful for portable systems used in remote locations, or for emergencies where water supplies are disrupted by storms or earthquakes.
With clean water in short supply around the world, new methods to treat salty, brackish and contaminated water are being developed all the time. MIT has invented a unique way to shock water clean. With shock electrodialysis, water flows through a porous material with membranes or electrodes sandwiching the porous material on each side. A shockwave is generated that sharply divides the streams and allows the fresh and salty regions to be separated by a physical barrier at the center of the flow. This system not only removes salt, but a wide variety of other contaminants as well. And, because of the electrical current passing through, it may also sterilize the stream. Shock electrodialysis opens up a whole range of new possibilities for water desalination, both for seawater and for brackish water resources, like groundwater.
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