Nadine, I agree about graywater usage. I live in a hotbed of it here in Santa Cruz county. If it wasn't for the expense, we would have installed one a long time ago on our own property. I still plan to, but it's still behind other homeowner fixup priorities. That's a big part of the problem in leaving it up to the private sector, i.e., homeowners. I wish there were incentives like tax deductions, such as there have been for solar.
Thanks, Jack. The surface material must be both sticky and slippery, so the chemical- and salt-laden seawater stays on only long enough to evaporate completely and efficiently, but no longer. Ideally, it also must shed deposits relatively easily. There's no continual cleaning here: regular maintenance is required, as with metal, but lower process temperatures allowed by the material will help residues build up more slowly.
There are very strict restrictions on grey water usage here in California. Regulations loosened up a little a few years ago. Many people in the Bay Area promote grey water usage, and sell how-to kits and books. Technically, some of the movement is breaking the law but it's moving the debate in a positve direction.
My POV is based in research and observation. Desalinization seems like a good idea but only offers short term relief.
Mydesign, that's a distillation process you describe, so it sounds like the majority form of desalination, the one I cover here. I'd be interested to know more about what exact processes are being used and what challenges, obstacles, problems, etc. the Arab countries have encountered. I'm also very curious about reverse osmosis, the much less often used method, and wonder why it isn't used more often.
William, I think that's an excellent point: some areas are simply not inhabitable by a certain number of people after a specific threshold has been passed, without either importing huge amounts of water, such as in Los Angeles, or without needing a huge, expensive, artificial infrastructure of some kind. We have come to think such an infrastructure is the norm, but it's quite recent in human history. And thanks for quoting Bob Dylan :)
Thanks, Nadine. Your POV is held by many here, regarding using other options such as graywater conversion and conservation. The problem with conservation in Santa Cruz County is that we've done just about as much as we can, short of graywater conversion both public and private: our water usage rates here are very low already compared to other areas of the US. And why we haven't done graywater conversion more on a public scale, I don't know--it seems so obvious.
Very interesting article, Ann. Living in the Midwest on the shores of one of the largest bodies of fresh water in the world, I didn't have a lot of background in how desalination is accomplished. Using the method you described, I would assume that they materials being used would have to be rather "slippery" too. If you are spraying salt water on them specifically to cause steam and leave the salt and contaiminate behind, I would think that the pipes would be covered in a relatively short period of time...either that or there is a good method for continual cleaning.
Beth, we know that eventhough 2/3rd of earth is covered by water, most part of the world still have scarcity of drinking/fresh water. So the best option to bridge the gap is purification or desalination of sea water. Most of such projects required huge investment and complex technology/machinery for purifying the salt water. A new more economical and simple technology has yet to be discovered and I think these new technology may comes under that category.
Ann, I know in most of the Arab countries, they are distilling the sea water for residential purpose other than drinking. Am not sure about the technology they are using for this purification, but I heard that it's a multi stage purification, where water is evaporating to remove the salt content. In such cases I think the new technology seems to be superior and affordable.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
Alcoa has unveiled a new manufacturing and materials technology for making aluminum sheet, aimed especially at automotive, industrial, and packaging applications. If all its claims are true, this is a major breakthrough, and may convince more automotive engineers to use aluminum.
NASA has just installed a giant robot to help in its research on composite aerospace materials, like those used for the Orion spacecraft. The agency wants to shave the time it takes to get composites through design, test, and manufacturing stages.
The European Space Agency (ESA) is working with architects Foster + Partners to test the possibility of using lunar regolith, or moon rocks, and 3D printing to make structures for use on the moon. A new video shows some cool animations of a hypothetical lunar mission that carries out this vision.
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