Mere Sunlight Can be Used to Eradicate Pollutants in Water


Chemists present new process to produce hydrated electrons.

Advances in environmental technology: You don't need complex filters and laser systems to destroy persistent pollutants in water. Chemists at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg (MLU) have developed a new process that works using mere sunlight. The process is so simple that it can even be conducted outdoors under the most basic conditions. The chemists present their research in the journal "Chemistry - a European Journal".

The chemists at MLU rely on electrons moving freely in water, so-called hydrated electrons, to degrade dissolved pollutants. "These electrons are extremely reactive and can be used for a plethora of reactions. They break down even the most recalcitrant pollutants," explains MLU-chemist Professor Martin Goez. For this to work, however, the electrons have to be released from the molecular compounds in which they are usually tightly bound. Until now, generating those electrons has required complex and expensive high-power lasers. Goez’s research group has been working for years on finding an alternative to this.

Continue reading at Martin-Luther-Univei Halle-Wittenberg

Image via Robert Naumann, Uni Halle