Scientists have demonstrated a new bio-inspired material for an eco-friendly and cost-effective approach to recovering uranium from seawater.
A research team from the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories, the University of California – Berkeley, and the University of South Florida developed a material that selectively binds dissolved uranium with a low-cost polymer adsorbent. The results, published in Nature Communications, could help push past bottlenecks in the cost and efficiency of extracting uranium resources from oceans for sustainable energy production.
“Our approach is a significant leap forward,” said coauthor Ilja Popovs of ORNL’s Chemical Sciences Division. “Our material is tailor-made for selecting uranium over other metals present in seawater and can easily be recycled for reuse, making it much more practical and efficient than previously developed adsorbents.”