S Michael February 12, 2018 01:12 AM What about gold particles. MartinVoelker February 12, 2018 07:27 AM This is obviously early stages but I wonder how these membranes could help reduce the volume of salt brine left behind after desalination. Typically around 20 % of the volume of the seawater is brine which is toxic or at least disruptive to ecosystems in such high concentration. Unless there's a solution on this front desalination remains a method of last resort. JimFox February 12, 2018 08:35 AM MartinVoelker--- good point- are there many large salt caverns & old underground salt mines that could be filled to dispose of this stuff, after natural evaporation in hot climates? Snerdguy February 12, 2018 09:48 AM This is the kind of technology that governments should be watching and investing resources into, albeit carefully. We have to recognize that clean water supplies are being strained and that an electrically powered society is going to need more lithium than current methods of mining will be able to supply. This is far more critical than space exploration and the fantasies of people landing on other planets. Douglas Bennett Rogers February 12, 2018 01:41 PM The main use of lithium in about 100 years may be as fusion fuel. DCDaly February 12, 2018 02:06 PM Hi! Question: It would be helpful if the reporters and writers would mention what corporations, if any, were financially supporting this powerful research. Normally, they would have some ownership of the results of this project. This could create a huge, lucrative patent and have a great impact in states threatened with drought. dcd DaveWesely February 12, 2018 02:32 PM MartinVoelker, JimFox -- Of course high concentrations of brine are toxic. But remember, tons of seawater is evaporated off the surface of the ocean every day - leaving behind a higher concentration of brine. The solution is simple. Don't dump all the brine into a shallow bay area. Pipe what you don't use out to an area with significant currents and volume to distribute the salts back into the ocean. DavidRogerBrown February 12, 2018 03:17 PM MartinVoelker- Certainly know little on the subject but couldn't the salt brine be used as additional products or safely returned to the ocean? Snerdguy- Totally agree. Smart research funding solving human induced massive problems facing us here on our blue planet should be greatly increased. Funding could be transferred from "pie in the sky" human space travel illusions that machines like Hubble do far better & cheaper. But how does one convince the large numbers that have their heads in the sand and deny overwhelming evidence of a near future sixth extinction? While China and other countries are pulling ahead of the U.S. in science research & problem solving. The powerful carbon industry will fight tooth & nail to slow down anything that affects their bottom line. ljaques February 12, 2018 06:07 PM Cleanup of any part of the fracking fields is a good thing. They waste millions of gallons of fresh water on each hole drilled. DaleBarclay February 12, 2018 06:17 PM We should be taking the salt from the ocean and lakes and use it to melt the snow and ice on roads instead of removing it from the ground and adding it to the oceans and lakes increasing their salt content.