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January 2nd, 2008
These days everyone is fretting about oil, its scarcity and of course its sky-rocketing price. However, for those of us who like to think one step ahead, it might be smarter to focus on a natural resource most of us take for granted. Water.
Today, water remains among the cheapest commodities. But it is also essential to all living things--whether they be crops, livestock or human beings. As a critical component in virtually every manufacturing and processing plant, water is also necessary for economic sustainability and growth. Plus, unlike any other commodity, water has no substitute regardless of price.
Nanoscale carbon, for example, is enabling greater efficiency and longer lifetimes for the familiar activated carbon water filter. Such filters are being fielded by start-ups like Seldon Labs and KX Industries. Meanwhile, nanoscale engineering by GE and start-ups like NanoH2O is helping make conventional semi-permeable membranes commonly used for filtration and desalination more efficient, more selective in what they filter and/or less prone to fouling.
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