National Science Foundation-funded scientists are developing technology to remove contaminants from water -- but only as many as necessary. The engineers are building a treatment system that can be tuned to selectively pull toxins from drinking water and wastewater from factories, sewage systems and oil and gas wells. The researchers said their technology will cut costs and save energy compared to conventional systems. The heart of the system is a set of novel composite electrodes that enable capacitive deionization. The charged, porous electrodes selectively pull target ions from fluids passing through the maze-like system. When the pores get filled with toxins, the electrodes can be cleaned, restored to their original capacity and reused. The researchers have said the system is intended to work with current commercial water-treatment systems.
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