Cleaning dirty water has been a major problem for the majority of the world. Current technology, like UV purification is not only expensive, but it can take up to 48 hours to complete. Thankfully, a group of researchers at Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have come up with a clever little device that uses solar energy to disinfect water in just 20 minutes flat.

While the little black rectangle looks like nothing more than a chunk of glass, it’s actually covered in nanostructured molybdenum disulfide. All you have to do is place the block in the water, in the sunlight and it will react with the light, generating hydrogen peroxide and other antibacterial chemicals. SHortly after the initial reaction, the chemicals dissipate and leave crystal clear water behind.

The science lies in the molybdenum disulfide is a photocatalyst. As it releases electrons, it causes the chemical reaction to take place in the water. If there’s a downside to the new tech, it’s that it can currently only disinfect water, it can’t purify it. That means that it’ll kill bad things, but it won’t remove heavy metals and other chemical pollutants

Source: Inhabitat