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Scientists create device that cuts desalination costs by 90%

The new method suggested by the Russian scientists does not require high energy consumption

MOSCOW, October 11. /TASS/. The work by Russian scientists from the Siberian Federal University (SFU, Krasnoyarsk) will allow to reduce the cost of drinking water tenfold by reducing energy costs for heating and stopping the use of chemical additives in desalination, head of the department of heat engineering and hydrodynamics at the SFU Polytechnic Institute, Doctor of Technical Science Vladimir Kulagin, said on Friday.

The authors of the study developed a technology for producing fresh water due to cavitation, a phenomenon during which voids (cavitation microbubbles) form in a liquid under negative pressure. When they collapse, high temperatures of up to 15,000 degrees may arise, shock waves of up to 10,000 atmospheres and jets in the form of needles are being formed, with water moving at a speed of up to 500 meters per second. These effects are widely used in various technological applications. 

“During the desalination process using special equipment we create a cavity [a void — TASS] with a cavitation effect inside a stream of water, something like a soap bubble. Water in the ocean, river or in one's mug always evaporates, it happens on the surface. Water molecules on the inner surface of our 'bubble', formed in the water, also evaporate, but inside, being the cleanest, almost distilled fraction of the liquid, the indicators of which can later be easily brought to the indicators of drinking water by increasing the content of minerals and organic substances in it," said Kulagin. The scientist clarified that the device developed in the SFU pumps these molecules of clean water whereas salts and other impurities are carried away with the flow of the treated water.

Compared with the technology of desalination of water by heating, the method developed by the SFU scientists does not require high energy consumption, as well as the cost of chemical additives used as an alternative to make groundwater suitable for drinking and household use.

“Compared with the methods listed above, our technology allows to reduce the cost of obtaining one cubic meter of fresh water tenfold,” the scientist pointed out.

The technology developed by the Siberian Federal University team, has already been implemented at an enterprise in Nizhny Novgorod. The research was supported by the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR).