One of the greatest challenges facing humanity is to produce clean drinking water under the given circumstances of global warming, population growth and increasing littering. In September, we would like to present a review article that believes one approach to solve this problem is the use of nanoscale wood. In the review, “Advanced Nanowood Materials for the Water-Energy Nexus,” published in the journal Advanced Materials, methods for using wood for water treatment are outlined based on the structure of wood, bottom up or top down. Using the approaches described, wood can be used for water purification, desalination, or chemical removal.
Many examples are shown of how the basic building block of wood, cellulose (a natural polymer), can be processed into nanofibers or polymer matrices, enabling filtration of ultra-small particles.
In contrast, top-down approaches preserve the fundamental structure of wood. For example, naturally occurring channels and mesopores open up the possibility of binding chemicals or applying catalysts. Research with palladium, titanium dioxide, or iron oxide nanoparticles applied to wood showed very good separation of chemicals from water. By chemically modified wood, it was possible to selectively remove copper ions, separate oils and organic solvents, or filter out heavy metals from water.
Wood is an indispensable, climate-neutral raw material due to its ability to bind CO2. In combination with nanoparticles, it may be possible in the future to extend the versatile properties of wood and thus provide a solution approach to water scarcity and environmental pollution.
Chen, X. et al (2021) Advanced Nanowood Materials for the Water–Energy Nexus. Advanced Materials, 33(28), 2001240. doi.org/10.1002/adma.202001240
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