Google Play icon

Nano-scientists develop new kind of portable water purification system

Share
Posted May 8, 2013
Water purification device undergoing field trials in India and its performance evaluation. (A) Schematic diagram of the device. (B) Actual photograph of the device. Construction and assembly of the device are simple and can be done locally. The antimicrobial composition is used as granules and kept in the membrane filter. Carbon block is positioned just before the tap. Carbon block may also be used as a multilayer axial block, comprising adsorbents for specific regional contaminants such as arsenic, iron, and lead. Credit: PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220222110

Water purification device undergoing field trials in India and its performance evaluation. (A) Schematic diagram of the device. (B) Actual photograph of the device. Construction and assembly of the device are simple and can be done locally. The antimicrobial composition is used as granules and kept in the membrane filter. Carbon block is positioned just before the tap. Carbon block may also be used as a multilayer axial block, comprising adsorbents for specific regional contaminants such as arsenic, iron, and lead. Credit: PNAS, doi: 10.1073/pnas.1220222110

Researchers at India’s Institute of Technology Madras have developed a new kind of portable water purification system based on nanoparticle filtration. In their paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the team explains how their new device does its job—it employs nanoparticles to remove not just biological hazards, but toxic heavy metals as well.

The researchers note that access to clean drinking water is still a major worldwide problem—making it available to everyone, they say, would save approximately 2 million lives a year (approximately 42.6 percent of deaths are due to diarrhea alone and impact mostly children). To help reach the UN millennium development goal of doubling the number of people with sustainable access to safe drinking water by 2015, the team has been applying nanoparticle technology to the problem.

The system they have developed is a two-stage filtration process that provides 10 liters of clean water in just an hour’s time. The biggest challenge, the team says, was figuring out how to deliver silver ions into the water to be processed, without using any electricity. The process also had to use a minimal amount of silver ions to meet international safety standards. The answer, they say, was to use a new material that employs silver nanoparticles that are trapped in tiny cage-like structures made of other clay materials.

Other nanoparticles are used to create other materials that serve as filters, killing microbes and sucking heavy metals out of the water, making it safe to drink or use for cooking. The first stage of the process kills viruses, bacteria and other dangerous micro-biota. The second stage absorbs heavy metals such as lead and arsenic.

The result is an extremely inexpensive portable water purification device—the system cost is comparable to other portable filtration systems, but the processing itself comes to less than $3 per year. The filters are good for approximately one year (3,600 liters) and filtration can be run more than once per day if needed. The researchers believe their device is capable of providing all the drinking water a family of four would need.

The researchers have not yet made it clear who will manufacture the new device or when it might be made available for sale.

Read more at: Phys.org

Featured news from related categories:

Technology Org App
Google Play icon
84,948 science & technology articles

Most Popular Articles

  1. New Class of Painkillers Offers all the Benefits of Opioids, Minus the Side Effects and Addictiveness (October 16, 2019)
  2. Plastic waste may be headed for the microwave (5 days old)
  3. "Helical Engine" Proposed by NASA Engineer could Reach 99% the Speed of Light. But could it, really? (6 days old)
  4. How social media altered the good parenting ideal (September 4, 2019)
  5. What's the difference between offensive and defensive hand grenades? (September 26, 2019)

Follow us

Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Tumblr   RSS   Newsletter via Email