State of the Planet

News from the Columbia Climate School

Engineered Osmosis

Researchers at Yale have developed a water purification system that uses one-tenth the electric energy of  conventional desalination systems.

According to Yale doctoral student Robert McGinnis and his advisor Menachem Elimelech, Chair of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, the process employs

“forward osmosis,” which exploits the natural diffusion of water through a semi-permeable membrane. Their process “draws” pure water from its contaminants to a solution of concentrated salts, which can easily be removed with low heat treatment — effectively desalinating or removing contaminants from water with little energy input

Yale University is commercializing this desalination technology through a newly-established company, Oasys Water, which received $10 million in funding in mid-February.

Further Reading

Science for the Planet: In these short video explainers, discover how scientists and scholars across the Columbia Climate School are working to understand the effects of climate change and help solve the crisis.
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