WASHINGTON: Chemists at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on July 23 demonstrated that water purification can be powered exclusively by renewable solar energy sources. Through a semiconductor, this method integratessolar energy into an electrochemical separation process powered by a redox reaction, which manipulates ions’electric charge to separate them from a solution like water.
Using electrochemistry to separate distinct particles inside a solution (also known as electrochemical separation) is an energy-efficient technique for environmental and water remediation: the process of cleansing contaminated water. However, while electrochemistry requires less energy than other, similar technologies, the electric energy is generally sourced from nonrenewable sources such as fossil fuels.
Using this system, the researchers successfully separated and removed dilute arsenate — a derivative of arsenic, which is a major waste component from steel and mining industries — from wastewater.