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HNU laboratory reports new adsorbent material for clean energy production

Updated: 2021-09-18

Recently, Hainan University's (HNU) State Key Laboratory of Marine Resource Utilization in South China Sea had a research report on an adsorbent material for uranium extraction from seawater published in Nature sustainability.

Nuclear power is a reliable and carbon-free energy source and uranium is a key raw material for the production of nuclear energy. The uranium supply disruption is an urgent problem now at land-based deposits, while the ocean contains 4.5 billion metric tons of uranium reserves. However, due to the very low concentration and presence of many other metal ions as well as the accumulation of microorganisms, the development of uranium extraction technology faces enormous challenges.

The HNU researchers's report explains that a bifunctional polymeric peptide hydrogel not only has a strong affinity to uranium in seawater, but also has remarkable resistance to biofouling. This work opens up a new direction for the design of low-cost and sustainable materials for obtaining nuclear fuel.

HNU's researchers Yuan Yihui and Qiuhan of the State Key Laboratory of Marine Resources Utilization in South China Sea are the first authors of the paper, and Professor Wang Ning is the sole corresponding author. The research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China.