New ‘super material’ discovered in Singapore

A new so-called wonder material that can generate hydrogen, produce clean water and even create energy has been unveiled by scientists at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore.

The researchers believe the nanomaterial – dubbed TiO2 – could help to tackle various energy and environmental challenges.

"With our unique nanomaterial, we hope to be able to help convert today's waste into tomorrow's resources, such as clean water and energy," said Associate Professor Darren Sun, pictured.

To create the membrane, the researchers began by turning titanium dioxide crystals into nanofibres, which they then fabricated into flexible filter membranes containing carbon, copper, zinc or tin.

"While there is no single silver bullet to solving two of the world's biggest challenges: cheap renewable energy and an abundant supply of clean water; our single, multi-use membrane comes close, with its titanium dioxide nanoparticles being a key catalyst in discovering such solutions," Sun noted.

The researchers say the material can desalinate water, be used as flexible water filtration membranes, help recover energy from desalination waste brine, be made into flexible solar cells and can also double the lifespan of lithium ion batteries.

With its anti-microbial properties and low cost, Sun claims it could also be used to make breathable antibacterial bandages, which would not only prevent infections, but also promote healing by allowing oxygen to permeate through the plaster.

Laura Hopperton

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This could be a good application for a hydroelectric car completely eco friendly

Comment christy oneill, 01/07/2013

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