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Fighting water scarcity and climate change with changing electrochemistry

JUL 28, 2023
Review explores the application of electrochemically responsive materials to water treatment and carbon capture.
Fighting water scarcity and climate change with changing electrochemistry internal name

Fighting water scarcity and climate change with changing electrochemistry lead image

Electrochemically responsive materials, or ERMs, enable scientists to control chemical processes by applying electricity. Recent studies have investigated the viability of using ERMs for addressing water scarcity and climate change, which Shen et al. review in a new paper on using ERMs for electrochemically mediated water treatment and carbon capture.

The review examines the working principles of ERM systems, including performance metrics and design considerations such as materials selection and device configuration. The paper also highlights emerging characterization methods for determining heterogeneities in ERMs, to optimize their design for environmental applications. The paper concludes with a discussion on future opportunities and challenges in the field.

Co-author Xianwen Mao said the paper was written for professionals involved in the creation, implementation, and regulation of emerging technologies for environmental sustainability, including policymakers and researchers in academia and industry.

“It is important to inform these groups about the potential of electrochemically responsive materials, their design principles, and the opportunities and challenges in this evolving field to advance research, inform policy, and guide practical applications,” Mao said.

Mao added that readers of the review should focus on three potential future directions: repurposing existing energy materials for environmental applications, developing new characterization tools for real-time monitoring, and improving the scalability of ERM-mediated water treatment and carbon capture.

“To bridge the gap between lab-scale prototypes and real-world systems, it is important to develop and evaluate new system configurations suitable for larger-scale applications,” Mao said. “We also envision opportunities to synergistically combine electrochemically water treatment and carbon capture to enhance energy utilization, improve selectivity and reduce operating costs.”

Source: “Electrochemically responsive materials for energy-efficient water treatment and carbon capture,” by Kai Shen, Anmol Mathur, Yayuan Liu, and Xianwen Mao, Applied Physics Reviews (2023). The article can be accessed at https://doi.org/10.1063/5.0147071 .

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