The world of drinking water is changing, with the advent of bottled water, and with the arrival of nano-solar cells and other renewable energy sources.
Now a team of scientists at Imperial College London have used this new research to develop an alternative to water purification.
The team, led by Professor Peter Krawczyk, is working on a method for producing water from renewable energy, with a focus on water purifying.
“In the past, water has always been produced using traditional methods,” he said.
“Now, we can make it using nanotechnology.”
“We are trying to make it from the most sustainable and environmentally friendly way possible.”
‘It’s about energy’ The researchers say their research is based on the idea that there is a ‘carbon footprint’ for a single water molecule.
For example, carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels accounts for about half of water’s energy, according to the US National Science Foundation.
“For every unit of carbon dioxide emitted, there are two units of energy released from the water molecule,” Professor Krawczak said.
He explained that the water molecules that produce carbon dioxide also produce energy, and this energy is then converted into heat.
“We think that water could be a carbon neutral resource,” Professor Darlene Williams, from Imperial’s Centre for Energy and Environmental Technology (CEET), said.
She said that in the future, the water could become a source of energy and water for the world.
“If we can harness this energy and convert it into water, we could get a lot more power out of the water.”
‘We need to rethink how we make water’ Professor Williams said that the team’s research could have a profound impact on how the water is produced and consumed.
“The key idea is that we need to change how we think about water and the way we think of water, which is that it is an energy-producing molecule,” she said.
Professor Williams is part of a team working to build an energy cell for water, in a research project led by the University of Melbourne’s Dr James Smith.
The researchers have developed a way of extracting the energy that would be produced using a water molecule as a source.
“This energy is used to create heat,” Professor Williams explained.
“And what we’re looking at here is the use of this heat to create the hydrogen gas that would otherwise be released as CO2.”
Professor Kewczyk said that if the researchers can demonstrate the ability to use water as a fuel, it could be used for other purposes.
“It’s a really exciting opportunity to go from water to energy,” he added.
“I’m very excited by the idea of using water as an energy source.”
‘Water can be a key component of the future’ Professor Kowczyk explained that in a world where water is increasingly scarce, this research could be very beneficial for the environment.
“Water can provide a large amount of power and be a really big source of water,” he explained.
He said that it could also become a major component of a renewable energy future.
“One of the biggest questions we have is how do we harness the energy from water in a sustainable way.”
Professor Williams added that the researchers are not looking to make water as pure as wine, but rather to make use of the energy generated from water.
“They are really trying to change the way that we think and how we do things,” she explained.
The research is published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.