Researchers develop 3D-printed membrane capable of producing electricity and drinking water

By Park Sae-jin Posted : February 7, 2023, 16:28 Updated : February 7, 2023, 16:28

[Courtesy of KIST]

SEOUL -- South Korean researchers developed a special membrane that can simultaneously filter water and create electricity. The membrane can be used in water purification plants, sewage processing facilities and other water-related facilities to produce drinking water and electricity. The membrane produced using a 3D-printing method can be created into various sizes.
The Korea Institute of Science and Technology (KIST) said that its research team created an electricity generation and purification membrane (EPM) for water recycling. The membrane was made with sandwich layers of a porous filter and conductive high-polymer. When polluted water passes through the membrane in a perpendicular direction, ions will travel in a horizontal direction to create electricity.
According to KIST, the membrane can filter pollution material sized less than 10 nanometers for up to 95 percent of dirty water. With about 10 microliters of water, an EPM can generate electricity for three hours. Researchers will commercialize the membrane by increasing the output of generated electricity and upgrading the filtering performance.
"This EPM has a high chance of being used as a water quality management solution and emergency power source as it can solve problems caused by water shortage and lack of electricity at the same time," KIST researcher Jang Ji-soo said in a statement on February 7.
KIST said that the EPM can be upgraded to filter seawater to create drinking water and electricity in large-sized vessels. It also can be created into a wearable device to create electricity from sweat. 
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