Tuesday February 19, 2019

New Technology That Can Clean Water Twice As of Now

more than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world's population will be living in water-stressed areas.

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Novel technology cleans water using bacteria

Researchers, led by one of Indian-origin, have developed a new technology that can clean water twice as fast as commercially available ultrafiltration membranes, an advance that brings hope for countries like India where clean drinking water is a big issue.

According to a team from the Washington University in St. Louis, more than one in 10 people in the world lack basic drinking water access, and by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.

The team led by Srikanth Singamaneni, Professor at the varsity, developed an ultrafiltration membrane using graphene oxide and bacterial nanocellulose that they found to be highly efficient, long-lasting and environment-friendly.

The membrane technology purifies water while preventing biofouling, or build up of bacteria and other harmful micro-organisms that reduce the flow of water.

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The membrane technology purifies water while preventing biofouling. VOA

For the study, published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology, they used bacteria to build such filtering membranes.

The Gluconacetobacter hansenii bacteria is a sugary substance that forms cellulose nanofibres when in water.

The team then incorporated graphene oxide (GO) flakes into the bacterial nanocellulose while it was growing, essentially trapping GO in the membrane to make it stable and durable.

They exposed the membrane to E. coli bacteria, then shone light on the membrane’s surface.

After being irradiated with light for just three minutes, the E. coli bacteria died. The team determined that the membrane quickly heated to above the 70 degrees Celsius required to deteriorate the cell walls of E. coli bacteria.

While the bacteria are killed, the researchers had a pristine membrane with a high quality of nanocellulose fibres that was able to filter water twice as fast as commercially available ultrafiltration membranes under a high operating pressure.

When they did the same experiment on a membrane made from bacterial nanocellulose without the reduced GO, the E. coli bacteria stayed alive.

The new technology is capable of identifying and quantifying different kinds of cyanobacteria, or blue-green algae, as a threat to shut down water systems when it suddenly proliferates. Pixabay

While the researchers acknowledge that implementing this process in conventional reverse osmosis systems is taxing, they propose a spiral-wound module system, similar to a roll of towels.
Also Read: India Gets Assistance of Rs 3,420 Crore From Japan
It could be equipped with LEDs or a type of nanogenerator that harnesses mechanical energy from the fluid flow to produce light and heat, which would reduce the overall cost.

If the technique were to be scaled up to a large size, it could benefit many developing countries where clean water is scarce, the researchers noted. (IANS)

Next Story

Researchers Develop Wearable Device to Measure Wearer’s Physiological Response to Environment

The team says the aim of Project Coolbit is to create a personalised comfort model for each wearer, as well as crowdsourcing environmental data in the city in real-time.

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Fitbit watches, Sensors, Environment
Fitbit watches have sensors that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment. Pixabay

Researchers are developing a wearable device that aims to provide individualised information while gathering environmental data.

According to researchers, the device can measure the wearer’s physiological response to their immediate environment.

“We have added some sensors to the Fitbit watches that get information from air temperature and humidity, but also from the physiological response of the individual in that environment, such as your heart rate, your skin temperature, and your skin humidity,” said Negin Nazarian from UNSW.

“We have also developed some apps where you can interact with and tell us how you feel about the environment, so that way we can develop a methodology and a solution that is personalised and not one-size-fits-all,” Nazarian added.

Fitbit watches, Environment
There are some apps where you can interact with and tell us how you feel about the environment. Pixabay

The team says the aim of Project Coolbit is to create a personalised comfort model for each wearer, as well as crowdsourcing environmental data in the city in real-time.

“So your wearable already knows your personal comfort model, it knows your preference of the environment, the type of activities you like and some information about your physiological response,” the team said.

ALSO READ: Scientists Find Solution to Reduce Air Pollution, Develop Smart Windows

A Coolbit user could create a personalised heat safe route for a run, based on the previous information received by the wearable, according to the researcher.

“It also knows, based on the environmental information that other parties may give about the cities, the climate of the city,” the researchers said. (IANS)