science tech water electrodialysis india badass_machines wastewater_treatment purification public_health featured
Electrodialysis Could Help India’s Drinking Water Problems

image

by Michael Keller

The first thing that might come to your mind when asked to think about water in India might be “monsoon,” the drenching season of downpours that is currently plaguing the country with devastating floods.

But India’s bigger problem with water is a deficit, not a surplus. According to UNICEF, the country is home to 16 percent of the world’s population and only 4 percent of its water resources. Demand is already outstripping supply, and surface water sources are being continually degraded from many different sources of pollution. 

That leaves the nation’s groundwater supply to shoulder a heavy burden for a thirsty populace. While these underground sources are considerably cleaner than water that flows on the surface, they also contain significant amounts of dissolved salts that make them brackish. A recent report in the Journal Desalination claims that 60 percent of India’s land area sits atop such brackish waters. 

These saline impurities leave the water less salty than the sea, but relying on it as a source of drinking water can still lead to long-term health impacts. Salty groundwater also doesn’t taste very good, pushing people to look for other sources that might actually be more harmful. What’s more, reverse-osmosis plants, the typical infrastructure used to purify saline water to make it fit for drinking, need a connection to the electric grid for power. Many parts of rural India lack such a power supply.

A recent report by MIT engineers analyzed the problem and found that an acceptable technological solution exists to clearing brackish waters of dissolved salts without needing a nearby electric grid.

Read More

68
68 notes
https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/96991216770/3Fmt0UeN
Permalink
text
science tech agriculture genetic_engineering crops drought water food biology plants
Plant Genetic Thermostat Found, More Drought-Resistant Crops Possible

by Michael Keller

California is now in the grips of a drought so extreme that 2014 already registers as the state’s third driest year in more than a century.

A July University of California, Davis study on the likely impacts of the emergency forecast that at least 410,000 acres of farmland would be forced to go idle for lack of water, a devastating blow to farmers that would result in more than $800 million in lost revenues this year.

Many of the high-value vegetables, fruits and nut trees will be spared from the worst of the draught—increased groundwater pumping will make up for the shortfall in significantly diminished surface water supplies. Cotton, grains and oil-producing crops like canola are taking it on the chin, though. Hundreds of thousands of acres are now mothballed until the water starts flowing again.

Read More

31
31 notes
https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/96620386625/XOP9qpoi
Permalink
text
science tech power alternative_energy automobiles electrolysis hydrogen_fuel global_warming water innovators
A Drop Of Power Makes Hydrogen Fuel Cheaper

image

by Michael Keller

**Editor’s Note: There seems to be some confusion based on readers’ comments that this post is about researchers discovering electrolysis of water. That process has been known since the 18th century. This article is about research looking to make industrial-scale hydrogen gas from water using novel electrodes that diminish the amount of electricity and precious metals needed during electrolysis.**

Scientists have made a breakthrough in generating hydrogen gas fuel more efficiently by splitting water with smaller amounts of electricity. 

Stanford University researchers report that they have disassembled water molecules into gaseous hydrogen and oxygen with the electromotive force of a single AAA battery. Both gaseous products are flammable and hydrogen is considered a viable power source for electricity production and vehicles. In fact, the first hydrogen fuel cell cars will be available for purchase in the US beginning in 2015.

The Stanford group also accomplished the low-power water splitting, a process called water electrolysis, without the expensive precious metals typically used. They put two electrodes in a beaker of water and sent current through them, which broke the liquid into the two gases.

image

Read More

378
378 notes
https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/96004595690/7ljbh16K
Permalink
text
science tech physics tractor_beam fluid_dynamics water rip_current

Physicists Manipulate Waves To Make Tractor Beam

Scientists studying how floating particles move on the surface of water have come up with a way to pull them in, push them away or make them stay still. They can now precisely control objects by generating waves with specified frequency and amplitude.

The work by Australian National University researchers might find use in cleaning up oil spills. It could also lead to a better understanding of how moving water develops into rip currents.

"We have figured out a way of creating waves that can force a floating object to move against the direction of the wave," said physicist Horst Punzmann, who led the research. "No one could have guessed this result."

Read More

1273
1,273 notes
https://www.tumblr.com/reblog/94527563853/fzQQ6cQj
Permalink
photo

LATEST