Filtering the salt from seawater can take a lot of energy or specialised engineering.
A thin membrane made of porous wood may be able to fix that.
Jason Ren at Princeton University in New Jersey and his colleagues developed a new kind of membrane made of natural wood instead of plastic.
“If you think of traditional water filtration, you need very high-pressure pumping to squeeze the water through, so it uses a lot of energy,” says Ren.
“This is more energy efficient and it doesn’t use fossil-fuel based materials like many other membranes for water filtration.”.
One side of the membrane is heated so that when water flows over that side it is vapourised.
This method filters about 20 kilograms of water per square metre of membrane per hour, which is not quite as quick as polymer membranes. »