New research led by a team from Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has developed a new water filtration system that has been proven to be able to remove all the pathogens from water.
The technology interweaves titanium dioxide nanowires and carbon nanotubes to form a composite material. When exposed to sunlight, the new filter produces peroxide, hydroxide, and oxygen which are pathogen killers.
The simplicity of the filter “system” makes it fairly inexpensive and easily deployable without large investment in infrastructure.
The research has been tested with E. Coli but it is expected to be able to work effectively on bacterial pathogens that cause diarrhea and typhoid. It is anticipated that the filter could have wider application and also remove micropollutants such as pesticides, drug residue, or cosmetics.
The lead scientist on the project, László Forró, has commented: “In a close collaboration between chemists, physicists, and biologists, we have developed a very efficient water purification device, which does not need any energy source but sunlight. Our prototype can supply clean drinking water even at remote places to small populations and could be easily scaled-up. It is a great achievement and an important ‘side-product’ of this project is that it has attracted a large number of talented and motivated students who care for environmental issues; for sustainability”.