Polymer Filter Quickly Makes Water Safe To Drink
Written by Michael Keller, txchnologist.com/
It’s a thirsty world out there. But with much of the globe’s drinking supply unimproved by treatment systems that can remove animal waste, bacteria, viruses, and chemicals, a clean sip of water is too often a luxury.
Many researchers and inventors are looking for cheaper and faster ways to get clean drinking water to people who lack it. On the industrial scale, people are refining filtration membranes by using advanced materials like graphene to make more efficient potable water supplies. Others are using architecture to make rain-harvesting buildings. For individuals, one designer has made a solar power distiller to turn saltwater fresh. These are just a few examples of a lot of brainpower going in to help around 780 million people who have limited access to clean water.
Now a Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETHZ) team says they have developed a novel personal filtration tool that will contribute to the solution. Using a three-stage system that includes an advanced polymer membrane, they say the device, called DrinkPure, works so quickly that it can filter up to a liter of water a minute.
“What makes our DrinkPure filter unique is that you can screw it on to virtually any plastic bottle. It doesn’t require a pump or a reservoir, so it’s very easy to use,” said Jeremy Nussbaumer, a 23-year-old former ETHZ mechanical engineering student. “You simply screw the filter onto a bottle containing polluted water, then you can put it straight in your mouth and take a drink.”
Water coming into the system first passes a large screen that filters sand and organic matter. Then it moves through an activated charcoal layer that removes chemicals, metals and odors. Finally, it goes through the polymer layer, which is impregnated with nanoscopic pores that are all exactly the same size. This removes bacteria, viruses and other microbes.
“No pump is needed. No cleaning of the parts is necessary. Moreover, DrinkPure has no moving parts or easily breakable materials,” said Nussbaumer.
The DrinkPure device is said to weigh around 3.5 ounces and effectively filter 300 liters of contaminated water, enough for one person’s drinking water requirements over the course of a year. The team hopes to start producing and selling it for below $20 beginning in January 2015. They want to ship the initial production run to Africa, but are looking to set up local operations to manufacture it wherever the DrinkPure filter is most needed.
The team is now running an Indiegogo campaign to crowdfund their project.
Read more at txchnologist.com