Scientists at Imperial College London have invented a brand new type of membrane, which is capable of improving efforts of battery energy storage and water purification.
The new invention makes use of low-cost plastic membranes with several minute hydrophilic pores. This brand new invention offers a better version of conventional technology, which is difficult to use and very expensive.
Low Cost Polymer Membranes Offer Solution for Water Solution
Nafion, the existing ion exchange membranes find use for water purification. Additionally, it also finds use in the storage of output of renewable energy in batteries and fuel cells. Meanwhile, the ion transport channels present in Nafion membranes are quite expensive and not well defined. However, low-cost polymer membranes find extensive use in the membrane sector in different contexts. From the removal of salt to natural gas purification to removal of pollutants from water, the membranes find use for all. However, these membranes have not been good enough for the transportation of ions.
And now, a multi-institutional team guided by Professor Neil McKeown from the University of Edinburgh and Dr Qilei Song from Imperial College London have developed this technology. They came up with new membranes utilizing computer simulations to build a genre of microporous polymers. These polymers are known as polymers of intrinsic microporosity (PIMs). These polymers are capable of changing their building blocks for changing properties.
Furthermore, this invention is likely to assist in better storage and utilization of renewable energy.
In the next step, it is likely researchers will scale up these membranes to produce filtration membranes. Following the invention, it is likely that the researchers will look for options to commercialize these products in collaboration with the industries.
This brand new approach published in Nature Materials.