America’s military has taken a number of steps towards alternative energy and an energy-independent future, but military operations still require the transportation and distribution of other resources as well – namely: water.
Water is heavy, requires tons of specialized equipment to transport, and is absolutely mission-critical. A new process, however, aims to “lighten the load” of military water transport by extracting drinkable water from the same diesel fuel used to run helicopters, tanks, and generators. This process – being developed at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory – captures water from burning diesel fuel, and is efficient enoughto theoretically produce 1 gallon of water from 1 gallon of diesel. The process also removes a number of contaminant particles, allowing for up to 85 % of that water to be drinkable.
The “trick” behind the innovative process is an inorganic membrane that uses capillary action to condense water from the diesel engines’ exhaust. As the exhaust runs through a series of ceramic tubes, pores sin the tubes absorb the water vapor, which passes through to the other side.
The Oak Ridge National Laboratory is pushing for full-scale development of its system within the next few years, at a cost of just 6 million USD. If the process works at “full scale”, it may also help bring drinkable water to developing nations and help aid disaster relief efforts, like those currently underway in Japan.
Source: Popular Science.
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