This is the claim of Guoliang “Greg” Liu, an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry at Virginia Tech who has conducted extensive research into the design and synthesis of porous carbon fibres. The material is composed of long, fibrous strands of carbon with uniform mesopores of approximately 10nm.

According to Virginia Tech, Liu sees the primary application of his porous carbon fibres in the automotive industry, where similar materials are used as the external shells of some luxury cars. Now, Liu reports capacitive desalination as a new application for this material.

“Because of the high surface area of the porous carbon fibres, we can store a lot of ions,” Liu said in a statement. “Because of the interconnected porous network, the ion movement is very fast inside the pores.”