A new point-of-use water filter system will be released later this year, which can make the most polluted water drinkable.
A type nanotech filter to purify polluted water is set to revolutionise water treatment technology as we know it, with wide practical applications worldwide. The brainchild of a University of Stellenbosch scientist and two associates, the filter was announced in July and is expected to be available by the end of this year.
The filter is a teabag-like sachet that fits into the neck of a water bottle. One sachet can clean up to 1â„“ of the most polluted water to the point where it is completely safe to drink. Once used, the bag is discarded, and a new one inserted into the bottle neck.
The filter is a product of electro-spinning ultra-thin nanoscale fibres, and contains activated carbon granules that trap all harmful chemicals and micro-organisms.
“This concept combines inexpensive raw materials – activated carbon and antimicrobial nanofibres – in a point-of-use water filter system,” explains Dr Marelize Botes, a member of the team that developed the filter.
“Tests on river water samples taken near a Stellenbosch community have proven its success in yielding potable water. As the activated carbon and nanofibes are biodegradable, used bags require no special disposal precautions. The nanofibres disintegrate after a few days without any environmental impact. The filter materials are non-toxic.”
Prof Eugene Cloete, Dean of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University, stresses that the filter can provide clean drinking water to vulnerable communities.
The filter is currently undergoing tests by the South African Bureau of Standards. Plans are also underway to develop it into a product for outdoor enthusiasts.
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