Having clean water is a basic requirement for our health. Unfortunately, it is only a universal good. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are currently more than two billion people living with limited or no access to clean water.
This global challenge is the focus of a research group at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, which is developing a method to easily remove pollutants from water. The group, led by Gunnar Westman, focuses on new uses for pulp and wood-derived products.
Researchers have gathered solid knowledge about cellulose nanocrystals and therein lies the key to water purification. These tiny nanoparticles have an extraordinary capacity for adsorption, which researchers discovered a way to exploit.
They have created a biodegradable, powdered cellulose material with excellent purification properties that can be tailored and modified to remove different types of contaminants.
Westman and colleagues have shown how toxic dyes can be filtered from waste using a method and material developed by the group.
This research was done in collaboration with the Malaviya National Institute of Technology in Jaipur, India. In many parts of the country, color polluting waste water from the textile industry is a widespread problem.
The new treatment requires neither pressure nor heat and uses sunlight to catalyze the process.
When polluted water passes through a cellular dust filter, the contaminants are captured and disposed of quickly and efficiently as they enter the treatment system.
A filter made of cellulose nanocrystals removes contaminants, including textile dyes, from the water. As the contaminated water passes through the filter, the contaminants are captured and quickly and efficiently removed from the sun. Laboratory tests have shown that in the improvement system at least 80% of paint contamination has been removed. The inventors of the system should be able to increase this elimination percentage in future versions. (Photo: Chalmers University of Technology / David Ljungberg. CC BY-ND)
It is a cost-effective and easy system of installation and use, which can contribute greatly in areas where water purification is lacking or non-existent.
Westman and colleagues describe the technical details of their new system in the academic journal Industrial & Engineering Research Chemistry, under the title “Cellulose Nanocrystals Derived from Microcrystalline Cellulose for the Removal of Iani Green Azo Dye.” (Source: NCYT from Amazing)