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New miracle material poised to alleviate the global water and energy crisis

multiuse-titanium-dioxide-material-poised-to-alleviate-global-water-energy-crisis

Daunting observations made in the Population Institute report, "2030: The 'Perfect Storm' Scenario," clearly illustrate the dire need for innovative solutions concerning the pending worldwide energy and water crisis. According to Science Daily, "With the world's population expected to hit 8.3 billion by 2030, there will be a massive increase in the global demand for energy and food by 50 per cent and 30 per cent for drinking water."

Yet, scientists at Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in Singapore have steadily worked over the last five years to create a seemingly miraculous material that produces hydrogen, creates clean water and can even generate energy – all at a very low cost in contrast to the current technology available.

Multitasking wonder

Called Multi-use Titanium Dioxide, the material is formed by creating nano fibers from titanium dioxide crystals, which are then used to construct a flexible membrane. Carbon, copper, zinc and tin are also utilized in fabrication, depending on the ultimate use of the material. Since titanium dioxide is abundant and inexpensive, Professor Sun of NTU's School of Civil and Environmental Engineering said that "such a low-cost and easily produced nanomaterials [are] expected to have immense potential to help tackle ongoing global challenges in energy and environmental issues," as reported by Science Daily.

As noted in Science Daily, the nanomaterial created from titanium dioxide can:

  • Produce clean water and hydrogen when exposed to sunlight
  • Remove salt from water at a high flux rate
  • Be made into a cost-effective, anti-fouling filtration membrane
  • Destroy harmful pathogens and be used as antibacterial bandages
  • Be made into economical solar cells for generating electricity
  • Double battery life when used in lithium ion batteries

During development, it was discovered that the membrane could act as a photocatalyst, transforming wastewater into oxygen and hydrogen when exposed to sunlight, while also producing clean water. Platinum is normally used for this water-splitting effect, but the precious metal is cost prohibitive and rare.

"As of now, we are achieving a very high efficiency of about three times more than if we had used platinum, but at a much lower cost, allowing for cheap hydrogen production. In addition, we can concurrently produce clean water for close-to-zero energy cost, which may change our current water reclamation system over the world for future livable cities," said Professor Sun.

"While there is no single silver bullet to solving two of the world's biggest challenges: cheap renewable energy and an abundant supply of clean water; our single multi-use membrane comes close, with its titanium dioxide nanoparticles being a key catalyst in discovering such solutions," observes Professor Sun. "With our unique nanomaterial, we hope to be able to help convert today's waste into tomorrow's resources, such as clean water and energy."

Sources:
http://www.sciyencedaily.com
http://pubs.rsc.org
http://www.sciencedirect.com
http://www.populationinstitute.org

Republished with permission from Natural News
Written by Carolanne Wright

About the author:
Carolanne enthusiastically believes if we want to see change in the world, we need to be the change. As a nutritionist, natural foods chef and wellness coach, Carolanne has encouraged others to embrace a healthy lifestyle of organic living, gratefulness and joyful orientation for over 13 years. Through her website www.Thrive-Living.net she looks forward to connecting with other like-minded people who share a similar vision. 

Featured image: An electron microscope image of electrochemically grown TiO2 nanotubes. 10 000 times smaller than the width of a human hair, the tubes are filled with organic polymer in a new technique for "growing" solar cells with the potential to be cheaper than current solar cells. Author: Argonne National Laboratory

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