The scientist proposed to provide people with fresh water using manure

by time news

An American invented a desalination plant that uses specially processed cow “cakes”

Hundreds of millions of people on Earth suffering from lack of fresh water will be saved … by manure! Thanks to a recent discovery by scientists, it has become possible to carry out desalination of sea water using specially processed cow “cakes”.

An American scientist, associate professor of Northeastern University, Yi Zheng, developed such a peculiar remedy that helps to obtain fresh water. Phys.org wrote about the technology he proposed.

Judging by this publication, the manure desalination plant appeared almost by accident. And Zheng decided to study the properties of an odorous biomaterial, which is so common in rural areas, subjecting it to various external influences. In one experiment, Dr. Yi heated a portion of cow feces borrowed from a farmer to 1,700 degrees. At such a high temperature, this substance not only got rid of all the bacteria it contained, but also turned into a black carbonaceous powder. From it, the scientist was able to make a porous material.

This black “foam”, when placed on the surface of the water, swam beautifully. At the same time, being in the open air under the influence of the sun’s rays, it warms up itself and warms up the layer of water under it, forcing it to turn into steam. Having percolated through the porous layer, this vapor then, upon condensation, turned into fresh water.

The scientist himself wrote in his report on the experiment: “The resulting water was so fresh, and the sodium concentration was significantly lower than the standards set by the US EPA for drinking water.”

As a matter of fact, it is not at all necessary to take cow dung for the manufacture of carbon “foam” working under the influence of sunlight as a filter-desalination agent. Dr. Zheng and his assistants have successfully tried other biological samples to replace such starting material. They mention, for example, crab shells, hornet nests and even ordinary tree leaves. However, it is manure that the author of the invention considers the most accessible raw material, in addition, its processing and disposal in this way can contribute to the improvement of the ecological situation.

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We asked a biologist and survival specialist Nikolai Ryzhko to comment on the news.

– As far as I can understand, we are not talking about a fundamentally new method of desalination of sea water, but about creating an original filter for performing such a technological operation. The very method for which the American scientist adapted his “manure filter” is well known. It is called membrane distillation. The essence is simple: a vapor-conducting membrane is placed on the surface of a container with seawater, the water under it is somehow heated, and the resulting vapor, passing through the membrane, then condenses into fresh water.

In this newly proposed version, the inventor figured out how to make a membrane by heat treatment of manure, and also use its black color to effectively heat water with the sun’s rays.

Well, perhaps such a technology is quite applicable and, perhaps, even will be cheaper in comparison with the currently used membranes for desalination plants. Although it is not very clear to me how realistic it is in simple, non-laboratory conditions to organize the processing of manure into such a “foam” -membrane. Here, Mr. Zheyen’s method may have serious competition in terms of economic efficiency from the method with the use of solar desalination plants, which has long been used in southern countries. In these special structures – heat exchangers, seawater is heated under the influence of sunlight, its active evaporation, and then condensation of the resulting vapor on the cooling surface with the formation of fresh water. As they say, cheap and cheerful. But, I emphasize – it’s cheap only for hot southern countries.

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There, even from the simplest improvised means, a traveler, finding himself on the seashore, can build such a desalination plant and quench his thirst with its help.

Well, in our harsh northern regions, another very cheap way is also suitable. True, it only works at sub-zero temperatures. You need to freeze a portion of sea water. In this case, fresh ice floes are first formed, since fresh water freezes faster.

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