Every now and then you read about technology that helps to bring or create fresh drinking water for places that might not have access to it. For example last year Bill Gates was part of a project which turned human waste into drinkable water, thus providing places without access to clean drinking water a way to get rid of waste, and create water for themselves at the same time.

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Now if you’re looking for a little less gross-sounding way of creating fresh drinking water, it seems that a group of scientists at the University of Illinois have discovered how to use batteries to turn seawater into fresh water. According to one of the researchers, Kyle Smith who is also a professor at the university, “We are developing a device that will use the materials in batteries to take salt out of water with the smallest amount of energy that we can.”

Right now one of the ways to remove salt from water is through reverse osmosis, in which water is pushed through a membrane to keep out the salt, kind of like a filter. However by using this battery method, it will instead use electricity to draw salt ions out the water. They also found that unlike reverse osmosis which needs to have water pumped, this method can work just by having water flow over the electrodes.

So far according to their tests with seawater, it seems that the process was good enough where it managed to recover 80% of desalinated water.

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