A novel breakthrough in China could bring cheap, clean drinking water to billions of people around the world. Perhaps most importantly, the process is powered by the sun.
GoodNewsNetwork reports that earlier this month, researchers from Yangzhou University developed a water system that can purify water of 99.9999% of bacteria — including E. coli. The process relies on 2D materials and sunlight.
The scientists’ tests confirm that the eco-friendly system can purify enough daily drinking water for four people in under 30 minutes. The university researchers published their findings in the journal Chem.
How does it work? Sheets of graphitic carbon nitride are used as a photocatalyst inside of a water container. Once they are directly exposed to sunlight, the sheets release electrons that bond with oxygen in the water and create compounds that purge bacteria from the water.
Of course, there are other purification systems that use similar chemical processes for destroying bacteria. But, they rely on photocatalysts that leave behind harmful chemical pollutants. Furthermore, those systems typically take over one hour to purify the same 10-liter bag of water as the newly-developed system.
“Its first-order disinfection rate was five times higher than that of previously reported best metal-free photocatalysts with only one-tenth catalyst consumption,” said the paper’s co-author Wang Chengyin.
The team is now working on implementing their system into portable drinking containers. The goal is to deploy the system to at-risk areas around the world.
“The future application of photocatalytic disinfection technology can significantly relieve clean-water scarcity and global energy shortage,” said Wang Da, lead researcher of the study.
What are your thoughts? Please comment below and share this news
IMAGE CREDIT: Anthony Maragou