The Tidal Irrigation and Electrical System

renewable energy, carbon dioxide sink, biodiesel, and food from the ocean

Mats of potassium manganese oxide nanowires, filtration on the cheap

Posted by on Saturday, May 31st, 2008

A durable and relatively inexpensive way to filter water from oils and bio-contaminants has been invented by researchers at MIT. These mats can be recycled and are very hydrophobic. According to the university it can absorb 20 times its weight in oil.

“What we found is that we can make ‘paper’ from an interwoven mesh of nanowires that is able to selectively absorb hydrophobic liquids–oil-like liquids–from water,” said Francesco Stellacci, an associate professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and leader of the work.

Made of potassium manganese oxide, the nanowires are stable at high temperatures. As a result, oil within a loaded membrane can be removed by heating above the boiling point of oil. The oil evaporates, and can be condensed back into a liquid. The membrane–and oil–can be used again.

This is problematic for any potential large scale use in a TIE System unless the energy intensive extraction method can be incorporated into the bio-petroleum conversion process. However, this is an important technology for cleaning up oil spills and other environmental contamination.

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