How fascinating would it be to get drinking water from saline water with just the push of a button?

Picture credits: M. Scott Brauer

Researchers at MIT — Jongyoon Han, Junghyo Yoon, SungKu Kang, Hyukjin J. Kwon and Eric Brack — have come up with a device that does just this.

Picture credits: M. Scott Brauer

Unlike other devices, the portable desalination unit does not employ filters, but works on electrical power.

Here’s a look at the amazing features of the suitcase-sized device: – The power it requires to operate is even less than that required to charge a cell phone! – Instead of traditional modes of charge, a solar panel costing $50 can be used. – The drinking water it produces exceeds WHO standards.

One button is all it takes to get clean drinking water.

Here’s how it works: #1: The unit operates on the principle of ion concentration polarisation. #2: Electric field is applied to the membranes placed above and below a channel of water. #3: A particle that has a charge will be repelled by the membrane. #4: These particles along with bacteria, viruses, etc. are discharged through the second stream of water.

Picture credits: M. Scott Brauer

But, some salts remain and this is where the fifth step comes into the picture.

Picture credits: M. Scott Brauer

#5: Electrodialysis is carried out to remove the remaining ions.

Communities that could benefit from this invention: – Those in war-torn zones – Those living on islands or aboard cargo ships – Those affected by natural disasters.

When the device was tested on the field, it showed astounding results. When the feed tube was tossed into the water at Boston’s Carson Beach, a cup of clear water was produced within 30 minutes. Can this be a boon for the shortage of clean drinking water around the world?