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July 15, 2019

Good Morning,

My neighbor recently had solar panels installed on her roof. I've been curious about having them installed on my home so I think I might ask her about the benefits and such, even more so after reading the article below about a solar panel that produces electricity and clean water. Sign me up for that!

Learn about this and more interesting stories from the scientific community in today's issue.

Until Next Time,

Questions? Comments? Scientific Discoveries? Email Us

*-- New solar panel produces electricity and clean water --*

Electricity and clean water are two of the world's biggest needs -- and scientists in Saudi Arabia may have a solution.

According to a new study published in the journal Nature Communications, engineers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology have developed a solar panel that produces electricity and clean water.

The technology's creators said water and energy production are interconnected. Solar farms use fresh water to keep their panels dust-free and operating a maximum efficiency. Conversely, desalination plants use a lot of energy to turn seawater into potable water.

"The water-energy nexus is one of the main issues threatening sustainable global development,"

Wenbin Wang, a doctoral student in Peng Wang's labs at KAUST's Water Desalination and Reuse Center, said in a news release.

The best commercially available photovoltaic solar panels boast a maximum efficiency of 20 percent. The remaining 80 percent escapes, mostly in the form of heat.

Wenbin and his colleagues designed a device to capture the heat released by solar panels and use it to produce fresh water. The device features stacked water channels, each separated by a combination of heat conduction layers and porous hydrophobic membranes.

In the upper channel, captured heat is used to vaporize seawater. When the vapors cross the porous membrane, it is desalinated and the clean water condenses in the channel below. Heat from the condensation is redirected to fuel more water purification.

Tests showed the device is capable of producing 1.64 liters of water per square meter of solar panel surface area, double the output of the best commercial solar stills. The addition of the device did not negatively affect the amount of electricity generated by the solar panels.

*-- Light therapy may stop cancer treatment side effect --*

Closeout EventA new light therapy to prevent oral ulcers caused by cancer treatment has received raves from researchers, a new study shows.

Updated guidelines now say photobiomodulation therapy, a low-dose light therapy, is effective at preventing oral mucositis during head and neck cancer treatment or stem cell transplants, according to research published Monday in Supportive Care in Cancer.

Radiation therapy after cancer can often cause these painful ulcers which take a long time to heal.

"Many cancer patients can now benefit from this treatment, Praveen Arany, co-corresponding author on the paper and assistant professor of oral biology at the University at Buffalo School and study co-corresponding author and study author, said in a news release.

At its normal high power, light in the form of a laser is often used to remove tissue during cancer surgery. When this light's power is reduced, however, it can soothe pain or inflammation, which speeds up healing.

The new guidelines were recently released by the Multinational Association of Supportive Care in Cancer and International Society of Oral Oncology.

Experts have reported patients who undergo cancer treatment often suffer oral mucositis as a chief side effect. This condition can hamper the healing process and, in extreme cases, cause hospitalization.

"These updated guidelines will provide health care professionals with better tools to deliver care for cancer patients," said Sharon Elad, a researcher at the University of Rochester Medical Center and study author.

"But even with the best evidence-based interventions, we don't yet have an ultimate guideline for mucositis in all clinical settings. We look forward to future research to help shape a more universal implementation of photobiomodulation therapy as well as identify additional effective and validated protocols," Elad said.