Portable Device Creates Drinkable Ocean Water in Minutes

A crack team of research engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) develops a user-friendly and portable unit that removes salt and other particles from ocean water in a flash.

The portable desalinization unit was born in MIT’s Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE), the birthplace of Ion Concentration Polarization (ICP) which is the filtration process behind its compact design.

Market Need

Portable and efficient desalination has massive potential in a world of unequal circumstances. It is estimated that 785 million people lack access to safe water (1/9th of the world’s population).

Every 2 minutes, a child dies from a water-related disease, like diarrhea, giardiasis, dysentery, typhoid fever, E. Coli infection, and salmonellosis.

Largescale desalinization plants have been around since the 1930s, but they simply aren’t an option for many poorer communities worldwide.

How it Works

Typically portable desalination devices rely on filters and enormous high-pressure pumps to force water through microscopic holes that catch bacteria and minerals. As a result, they are much more challenging to design for portability and are impractical.

To solve this problem, ICP Water Tech’s unit functions upon Ion Concentration Polarization (ICP), a proprietary method created by Han’s researchers. The need for only a low-pressure pump allows the unit to desalinate and purify water using a small amount of electricity, less than a cellphone.

The device developed at MIT is a prototype and produces drinking water at a rate of .3 liters per hour. They are working to make this process faster and even more energy-efficient, as plans for a startup company to market the device are underway.

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