New method for making large quantities of deuterium-depleted drinking water

January 5, 2011

Scientists in China are reporting development of a less expensive, more eco-friendly method for making deuterium-depleted drinking water, citing studies suggesting that it may be a more healthful form of water. Their report appears in ACS' bi-weekly journal Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

Changgong Meng and Feng Huang note that natural water, widely known as H2O, actually is a mixture of H2O and tiny amounts of D2O — about 150 parts per million (ppm), or a few drops of D2O in every quart of water. Deuterium-depleted water usually contains about 125 ppm. The "D" is deuterium, an isotope or variant form of hydrogen often termed "heavy hydrogen." They cite accumulating evidence that water with high levels of deuterium may have adverse health effects on animals and plants, while deuterium-depleted water may be useful in treatment of certain diseases. Existing ways of removing deuterium from water tend to be expensive, inefficient, or environmentally harmful.

They describe a new method that helps overcome these problems, and could be the basis for the first industrial-scale production of deuterium-depleted water. It involves a platinum catalyst that quickly and efficiently removes deuterium from water using a combination of cold and hot temperatures. In laboratory-scale tests, the new technique reduced the amount of in water from about 145 parts per million to 125 parts per million. The resulting is suitable for drinking, the scientists say, and could be produced in large quantities at economical cost.

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More information: "Method for the Production of Deuterium-Depleted Potable Water", Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research.

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3 / 5 (6) Jan 05, 2011
Oh come on. A reduction of 20 parts per million?

Is this some sort of joke?
2.3 / 5 (3) Jan 05, 2011
Oh come on. A reduction of 20 parts per million?

Is this some sort of joke?

I don't know, but I do know that a fairly large number of people in Norway drank water with larger than average concentrations of D2 for hundreds of years. I wonder if anyone has studied that?
1 / 5 (1) Jan 05, 2011
What do they do with the recovered D2O? That stuff is worth a fortune.

Using hot and cold temperatures could be how they make the catalyst selective.

Since the only difference is the deuterium isotope it's possible that the platinum catalyst is sterically designed to be preferable to D2O co-ordination over H2O co-ordination (since chemically they are equally reactive). Different temperatures likely cause slight changes in the structure or positioning of the metal catalyst's ligands and will release the small H's and hold the bigger D's.

Just speculating though... Cool stuff regardless.
2.6 / 5 (5) Jan 05, 2011
Life has thrived on this planet for billions of years on non-D20 depleted water. What is the basis for their assertions? Sounds like snake oil to me. Besides, it's Chinese D2O depleted water. Probably enriched with plenty of Pb or Hg.
not rated yet Jan 06, 2011
that pure diprotium oxide should actually be quite valuable, hopefully the process can be repeated a few times to reduce that pesky deuterium even more! :-)
5 / 5 (2) Jan 06, 2011
Deuterium belongs in nuclear reactor coolant. But deuterium-depleted water from china? Like someone else noted before me, it could have other stuff in it, like actual automotive coolant. Not drinking it.
5 / 5 (1) Jan 09, 2011
Deuterium belongs in nuclear reactor coolant.

More handy as a moderator than a coolant (since its cooling properties are essentially the same as H2O), but they usually end up being the same thing anyways so it's kind of semantics.

D2O's also handy in chemistry labs as a polar solvent for NMR.
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
The title of this article is misleading in my opinion. I can't see why anyone would bother removing deuterium from water other than to use it as a moderator in nuclear reactors.
not rated yet Jan 12, 2011
The title of this article is misleading in my opinion. I can't see why anyone would bother removing deuterium from water other than to use it as a moderator in nuclear reactors.

It's just marketing. You tell people that deuterium is bad and that water naturally contains some. Then you tell them that you're removing it so the water you're selling has less and is therefore healthier. People believe this and pay lots for this "healthier" water.

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