Drivers used to paying ever more for a fill-up might finally catch a break. Research underway by the University of Tennessee and Oak Ridge National Laboratory is aimed at improving the process of separating unwanted substances from fuel, according to an article at Phys.org. Such an improvement would mean reduced costs to make and supply the fuel, and ultimately a reduction in the cost to purchase, alleviating some of that pain at the pump.
The breakthrough technology centers around refining the properties of the membrane that aids in separating the fuel. This membrane is a critical component of processing fuels, especially biofuels. The technology combines nanotextured pores with super water-repulsing and water-attracting substances. Other industries whose manufacturing processes involve separating liquids or vapor mixtures could also effectively see a reduction in costs by applying the new technology, according to the article.