Review

Nature 452, 301-310 (20 March 2008) | doi:10.1038/nature06599; Received 14 July 2007; Accepted 14 December 2007

Science and technology for water purification in the coming decades

Mark A. Shannon1,4, Paul W. Bohn1,2, Menachem Elimelech1,3, John G. Georgiadis1,4, Benito J. Mariñas1,5 & Anne M. Mayes1,6

One of the most pervasive problems afflicting people throughout the world is inadequate access to clean water and sanitation. Problems with water are expected to grow worse in the coming decades, with water scarcity occurring globally, even in regions currently considered water-rich. Addressing these problems calls out for a tremendous amount of research to be conducted to identify robust new methods of purifying water at lower cost and with less energy, while at the same time minimizing the use of chemicals and impact on the environment. Here we highlight some of the science and technology being developed to improve the disinfection and decontamination of water, as well as efforts to increase water supplies through the safe re-use of wastewater and efficient desalination of sea and brackish water.

  1. NSF STC WaterCAMPWS, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
  2. Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and Department of Chemistry, University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, Indiana 46556, USA
  3. Department of Environmental and Chemical Engineering, Yale University, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA
  4. Department of Mechanical Science and Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
  5. Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois 61801, USA
  6. Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA

Correspondence to: Mark A. Shannon1,4 Correspondence and requests for materials should be addressed to M.A.S. (Email: mshannon@uiuc.edu).

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