Hot and salty water is a common by-product of industries such as textiles, food and dairy production. But new technology that allows this water to be purified, collected and re-used on site has been developed by Victorian scientists.
Their compact module, smaller than the size of a human, can transform a wasteful industrial operation into an efficient process that recycles energy, water and materials.
“We’ve calculated that our module can reduce water use by more than 90 per cent in some industrial settings,” Professor Mikel Duke says.
Dr Cara Doherty, materials scientist, CSIRO, Melbourne
Cara Doherty is developing new technologies that could transform water filters, batteries and medical sensors, and clean up carbon emissions. And it all comes down to holes and surface area.
She has a vision for a new manufacturing industry for Australia. She works with crystals that are packed with… nothing. They’re highly porous sponges—down to a molecular level—and can be customised to absorb almost any molecule.
These crystals are metal–organic frameworks (MOFs). They can be challenging to make. And it’s also difficult to determine which crystal will be good for which job. But it’s even harder to deploy the crystals—to put them in the right place to do useful work.
Cara uses antimatter (positrons) and synchrotron light (X-rays) to measure the crystals and their properties. Then she uses her patented technique to imprint useful shapes for devices.
With the help of her L’Oréal For Women in Science Fellowship she will investigate how to take the next step: to develop the 3D structures that would be needed for a smart water filter.