That electric cars will soon displace vehicles with internal combustion engines, no doubt. The mass distribution of vehicles on electric traction, in turn, will lead to higher demand for lithium-ion batteries. Accordingly, the volume of production of lithium will increase many times, the problem that the resources of the existing fields is not unlimited. To meet the market demand, science is looking for alternative sources of this metal. And the decision has been found: scientists propose to transform the oceans in a clean lithium “mine”.
Researchers have proposed a method of desalinating seawater with the use of ORGANOMETALLIC structures, which is a spongy structure with subnanometre pores and large surface area. The principle is based on the ability of biological cell membranes selectively dehydrating and retain the ions, in this case lithium ions. Thus, the end product of the proposed technology is clean drinking water and metal, so necessary in the manufacture of batteries.
Development in this area was conducted earlier, so that the above method is not new, but requires improvements in some aspects. One of its advantages is lack of necessity to supply water under pressure, spending electricity to work the pumps. In addition, for the extraction of lithium does not apply environmentally harmful reagents. Scientists promise to continue research to bring the technology to industrial level. If this happens, then the probability of occurrence of lithium deficiency will be eliminated, in addition, a similar system could be used not only for seawater desalination but also for wastewater treatment.