- Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is fresh.
- According to the United Nations’ Sustainability Goals, 1 in 10 (663 million people) lack improved drinking water. Approximately half of the world’s population may be at risk of a water crisis by 2025.
Summary of “Highly Efficient Nature-Inspired Membrane Could Potentially Lower Cost of Water Purification by 30%” published in Phys.org
- Traditional methods to treat water through high-hydraulic or osmotic process incur huge energy costs. High water pressure is required to force water through filtering membranes. The additional energy generation increases air pollution.
- A team led by Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering associate professor, Tong Yen Wah, constructed a new biomimetic membrane that copies the natural process performed by the roots of mangrove trees. Mangrove trees utilize aquaporin to filter between 90 and 95% of the salt at its roots.
- The new membrane is embedded with nano-sized aquaporin-vesicles offering a stable and functional ultrafiltration substrate.
- The aquaporin-incorporated biomimetic membrane enables the water to pass through more efficiently at lower pressures, which decreases the amount of energy required to purify (30% reduction). The membrane also decreases salt leakage.
- Arid regions
- Governmental bodies
- Water service providers
- Water reclamation site developers
- Humanity, particularly the urban poor
- The environment
- The material can be used in industrial application for wastewater treatment and desalination and a full-scale pilot will be developed in partnership with a US-based company by 2018.
- Phys.org: “Highly Efficient Nature-Inspired Membrane Could Potentially Lower Cost of Water Purification by 30%”
- United Nations: Sustainability Goal 6, Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all
- Water-technology.net: “Researchers Develop new Energy-Efficient Water Purification Technology in Singapore”
- NanoWerk: “Novel Water Treatment Technology Surfaces at Ingenuity Lab”