THE BLUE GOLD
Two thirds of the earth’s surface is covered with water. 97% of it is salt water.
Nowadays, billions of people have no access to drinking water sources. Due to increasing population numbers and in order to avoid threatening conflicts like water wars, drinking water must be provided. Taking that into account, it is essential to find new ways to make the abundant salt water drinkable.
At the University of Manchester research looking into graphene oxide filtration is being carried out. It is intended to save costs as well as consume less energy than conventional filtration systems.
The only one atom thick carbon filters become a nanometer thick sieve with holes that let the water through, but not the salt.
Using this technology, the salt can be filtered out by the upper of the two filters. It is collected on top of the sieve and can be obtained for use by drying.
In combination with the lower filter, which consists of an activated carbon layer and a hollow fiber filter layer, residual viruses, bacteria and impurities are filtered out.
The salty sea water runs in the water pipes, which have been replaced by a system of aluminum magnesium alloy to withstand the salt.
After filtering the water, the upper of the two filters can be placed on the side. The salt that has collected on top of the filter can be obtained by evaporating the rest of the water.
|urban mining – urban tooling
The Blue Gold
by Viola Nauck
In a time where there is no more drinking water available, sea water now fills water pipes. There are special tools for desalinating the salt water for use.
I lean back and forth with the wind and move my legs to the rhythm of the swing on which I sit. I put my head in the back of my neck, enjoy the air that swirls around me and look up at the sky. Above me is the big old tree I love climbing on, even if my grandmother always says that I should stop because it’s too dangerous. At the highest point of the swing I jump off and sail through the air like the leaves falling from the tree. After landing in the sand, I sit down for a moment and look around. To my left is my parents’ house, where my grandparents live. I like that we are all together. To my right, on the other side of the tree where the swing hangs, is the house of our neighbors. On the stairs leading up to the front door is Julia. She and I attend to the same class. But I don’t like her very much. She is very noisy and curious and asks a lot of stupid questions. My teacher always says that there are no stupid questions. But with Julia I see it differently. Unfortunately, our parents told us always to come home from school by subway together. Today, on the way home, she told me that they will have installed a water filter in their house. I hope that I can see something from the swing. Even though I didn’t admit it of course, I find it very exciting. But nothing can be seen yet.I get up to fill up my water bottle in the kitchen. When I enter the house, I see my mother. She is standing at the stove cooking. “Hello Ben, how was school today?” she asks when she notices me. “As usual”, I answer taciturnly and go to the sink. “Wait a minute!,” she interrupts me reaching for the bottle. “I think it’s time to empty the filter again. The last time was a few days ago or have you done it in the meantime?,” she asks me and begins to unscrew the filter, which is screwed on top of my water bottle, without waiting for an answer. Instead of an answer, I just shake my head watching her.
My water filter is silver and on one side there is a small inscription in blue: AL-Cycling (from the car for the environment) and an address where you should send the filter if it is broken or no longer used. It simply has to be screwed onto the water bottle. It is important be-cause the water tastes terribly salty without the filter. My mother only uses it for cooking pasta as it comes out of the tap. At school we learned that we should be happy to have salt water. “But I’m not happy, it doesn’t taste good,” I said, and everyone laughed. Mrs. Müller, my teacher, answered that there used to be fresh water from the tap. And then, when we were little, there was no water at all from the tap for a while and everything had to be bought for a lot of money and many people died of thirst. After that I was sorry that I made a joke. Julia asked where the water came from when everything had been gone before and Mrs. Müller said that it was the water from the North Sea that was pumped through the pipes to us.In the meantime my mother has unscrewed and opened the filter and now she pours the salt, which is filtered out of the water, into our salt glass, turns it all back tight and shut, fills the bottle with water and gives it back to me . “In 15 minutes the food will be ready. Ben, go play until then, I’ll call you,” she says. I go out again, sit on the swing again and drink a sip from my bottle. When I look at the house next door, I see that something has finally happened. Two men carry reddish, somehow also brown-greenish pipes from the house into a waiting truck and other, new looking ones into the house. The truck is green and at the side stands Urban Mining. After the truck has driven away, another smaller car comes and parks where the truck was before. This time it’s just one man getting out and lifting out a crate from the back. With the crate under his arm, he walks towards the house. In the box is certainly the giant water filter for the whole house, I think to myself, and I am very impressed. Whether I like Julia or not, I will probably have to go over and try a glass of water in the next few days. At this moment my mother calls me to dinner.