Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bacteria And Nanofilters: Future Of Clean Water Technology

Date:
February 27, 2008
Source:
University of Nottingham
Summary:
Bacteria often get bad press, with those found in water often linked to illness and disease. But researchers are now using these tiny organisms alongside the very latest membrane filtration techniques to improve and refine water cleaning technology.

An atomic force microscope image of biocolloid blocking the entrance of a pore on membrane surface.
Credit: Image courtesy of Nidal Hilal, University of Nottingham

Bacteria often get bad press, with those found in water often linked to illness and disease. But researchers at The University of Nottingham are using these tiny organisms alongside the very latest membrane filtration techniques to improve and refine water cleaning technology.

These one-celled organisms eat the contaminants present in water — whether it is being treated prior to industrial use or even for drinking — in a process called bioremediation.

The water is then filtered through porous membranes, which function like a sieve. However, the holes in these sieves are microscopic, and some are so small they can only be seen at the nanoscale. Pore size in these filters can range from ten microns — ten thousandths of a millimetre — to one nanometre — a millionth of a millimetre.

These technologies can be developed into processes which optimise the use of water — whether in an industrial system or to provide drinking water in areas where it is a scarce resource.

The research is led by Nidal Hilal, Professor of Chemical and Process Engineering in the Centre for Clean Water Technologies — a world-leading research centre developing advanced technologies in water treatment.

Current membrane technology used in water treatment processes can decrease in efficiency over time, as the membranes become fouled with contaminants. By using bioremediation the membranes can be cleaned within the closed system, without removing the membranes. Researchers at the centre have developed the technology in partnership with Cardev International, an oil filtration company based in Harrogate.

As well as being highly effective in the water treatment process, transforming industrial liquid waste contaminated with metals and oils into clean water, ultrafiltration and nanofiltration membranes have a useful side effect. The waste products have a very high calorific value, and can be used as fuel.

Nanofiltration and ultrafiltration membranes are also being used in work funded by the Middle East Desalination Research Centre, which looks at creating drinking water from seawater. By pre-treating the seawater and removing contaminants, the membranes reduce the fouling of machinery in the next stage of the process — whether through reverse osmosis or thermal desalination. This can prevent damage to the machinery, reducing the need for expensive repair and replacements.

And by measuring liquid properties at the nanoscale, using state-of-the-art atomic force microscope equipment at the University, researchers are exploring how liquids behave at an atomic level — how they flow and pull apart. These results could be used in mechanics and industry, for example, maximising the use of oil in an engine.

Liquids are also being tested at a range of temperatures, from the very low (-50 oC) to the very high (150 oC).

Professor Hilal said: “Examining the properties of liquids has never been done before at this scale.

“By using bioremediation and nanofiltration technology combined, the water cleaning process is integrated — using far less energy than current processes. Add to this the recycling of waste products as fuels and you have a greener technology.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Nottingham. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Nottingham. "Bacteria And Nanofilters: Future Of Clean Water Technology." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 27 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222095403.htm>.
University of Nottingham. (2008, February 27). Bacteria And Nanofilters: Future Of Clean Water Technology. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222095403.htm
University of Nottingham. "Bacteria And Nanofilters: Future Of Clean Water Technology." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080222095403.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Earth & Climate News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Trees Could Save More Than 850 Lives Each Year

Newsy (July 27, 2014) A national study conducted by the USDA Forest Service found that trees collectively save more than 850 lives on an annual basis. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Phoenix Thunderstorm Creates Giant Wall of Dust

Reuters - US Online Video (July 26, 2014) A giant wall of dust slowly moves north over the Phoenix area after a summer monsoon thunderstorm. Mana Rabiee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins