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Scientists May Just Have Solved the Earth's Freshwater Problem

Graphene-oxide membranes can desalinate water faster and cheaper than desalination plants.

Scientists May Just Have Solved the Earth's Freshwater Problem

[DIGEST:, BBC, Nature]

As water resources become scarcer around the world due to climate change, desalination technology has grown more popular. The UN anticipates that 14% of the world’s population will experience water scarcity by 2025. However, taking the salt out of water to drink it, or even use it for crop irrigation, is expensive; a thousand gallons of freshwater from a desalination plant costs the average US consumer anywhere from $2.50 to $5, compared to just $2 for regular freshwater, according to Tom Pankratz, editor of theWater Desalination Report. It’s also a huge energy consumer. Desalination plants around the world consumemore than 200 million kilowatt-hours each day, an estimated 55 percent of plants’ total operation and maintenance costs. These plants can also cause environmental issues such as displacing ocean creatures and negatively altering salt concentrations in their habitats.

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