Renewable solar energy has the potential to significantly improve water purification while also positively influencing the environment. Chemists have proved that renewable energy sources can be used to power water cleanup in part, if not entirely.
Electrochemistry (also known as electrochemical separation) is an energy-efficient technique for environmental and water remediation: the process of cleansing contaminated water. However, while electrochemistry consumes less energy than other related technologies, the electric energy is primarily sourced from nonrenewable sources such as fossil fuels.
Water treatment can be fueled in part, if not entirely, by renewable energy sources, according to chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. Their technology incorporates solar energy into an electrochemical separation process powered by a redox reaction, which manipulates the electric charge of ions to separate them from a solution such as water.
Global electrical energy is still predominantly derived from nonrenewable, fossil-fuel-based sources, which raises questions about the long-term sustainability of electrochemical processes, including separations.Xiao Su
Using this technique, the researchers successfully isolated and removed dilute arsenate from wastewater, a derivative of arsenic that is a key waste component from the steel and mining industries.
This work demonstrates the viability of such systems for wastewater treatment and environmental protection.
Water filtration systems can be powered by solar energy. Solar-powered desalination plants and water treatment facilities can use the sun’s energy to turn seawater or contaminated water into clean and drinking water. Solar panels are used to create electricity, which is then used to power purification procedures such as reverse osmosis or distillation.
Solar energy is a clean and renewable energy source that produces power while emitting no greenhouse gases. When you utilize solar power to purify water, you lessen your dependency on fossil fuels, which would otherwise be used to generate electricity. This reduces carbon emissions and aids in the fight against climate change.
“Global electrical energy is still predominantly derived from nonrenewable, fossil-fuel-based sources, which raises questions about the long-term sustainability of electrochemical processes, including separations. Integrating solar power advances the sustainability of electrochemical separations in general, and its applications to water purification benefit the water sector as well,” said lead investigator Xiao Su, a researcher at the Beckman Institute for Advanced Science and Technology and an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering.