Stanford researchers have developed an innovative new method of harvesting uranium from seawater.
The Stanford capture method takes advantage of the fact that uranium will form uranyl ions when it dissolves in seawater. Building on the knowledge that uranyl will stick to plastic coated with amidoxime, the team created a hybrid amidoxime-carbon filter. Sending electrical pulses down the fiber improved its ability to attract the uranyl, and the fibers can be reused.
Each liter of seawater contains about a gram of uranium, which can be harvested and used to power nuclear power plants. According to Yi Cui, co-author of the research,"The oceans are so vast that if we can extract these trace amounts cost effectively, the supply would be endless."
Large image credit: L.A. Cicero
(Chong Liu examines a carbon-amidoxime electrode)
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