Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Membrane filter developed for clean water around the world

Date:
July 23, 2014
Source:
ETH Zürich
Summary:
Roughly 780 million people around the world have no access to clean drinking water. According to the World Health Organization, 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases every year. Now a resercher set himself the goal of making a contribution to solving this problem; the 23-year-old spent a year researching a membrane filter and developing a prototype.

This image depicts ETH student Jeremy Nussbaumer with his DrinkPure filter.
Credit: Anna Maltsev / ETH Zurich

Roughly 780 million people around the world have no access to clean drinking water. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 3.4 million people die from water-related diseases every year. ETH student Jeremy Nussbaumer set himself the goal of making a contribution to solving this problem. Working with researchers from a group led by Wendelin Stark, head of the Functional Materials Laboratory, the 23-year-old spent a year researching a membrane filter and developing a prototype.

"What makes our DrinkPure filter unique is that you can screw it on to virtually any plastic bottle. It doesn't require a pump or a reservoir, so it's very easy to use," explains the student from the canton of Aargau. "You simply screw the filter onto a bottle containing polluted water, then you can put it straight in your mouth and take a drink." Weighing less than 100 grams, DrinkPure is considerably lighter than most other filters, and the flow pressure is so high that you can purify as much as a litre of water in a minute just by squeezing the bottle with your hand. Another benefit is that the unit is less expensive and easier to manufacture than most conventional filters. These qualities, says Nussbaumer, make the filter ideal for development aid projects.

Three-stage filter system with special membrane

Three filtering stages make DrinkPure one of the most reliable devices currently on the market. First, a pre-filter captures large particles such as sand and plant fragments; the second stage consists of an activated charcoal powder that primarily removes undesirable odours and chemical contaminants; the third and most important part of the filter is a polymer membrane that removes bacteria. In fact, this membrane does its job more reliably than virtually any other water filter intended for outdoor use.

Two ETH doctoral students developed this polymer membrane and patented it three years ago. It is based on a new manufacturing process that shows great potential. It has been used in a wide range of other applications since then -- for example, in a non-toxic outdoor jacket -- and its use as a battery separator is also being investigated.

First filters to Africa next January

A year ago, Nussbaumer learned of the project to further develop this membrane for use in a water filter. The mechanical engineering student was so enthusiastic about the idea that after completing his bachelor's degree, he decided to postpone his master's degree for a year in order to devote himself to this project. "I was really looking forward to finally being able to do something tangible and useful. Of course, we hoped that the membrane would prove suitable for a water filter, but we never expected such excellent test results," says Nussbaumer proudly.

In order that the research team can manufacture enough filters to use in developing countries, they are looking for financial support. They will use the proceeds to purchase the tools they need to manufacture the filters. "As for what is left over, we will use 80% to produce the filter and transport it to Africa and 20% to further develop the concept," says Nussbaumer. They expect to have the first filters completed in January 2015; they will be sent to project supporters and to Africa for use in a test phase.

Perfect for travellers and walkers

It is still not certain whether DrinkPure will be available in future in retail stores. Alongside its suitability for development aid, the device is also perfect for travellers and walkers. "Quickly screw it on a bottle and you can take a drink from any pond or river without a second thought," explains Nussbaumer. "I'm actually not a serious walker myself, but if I were to go I would be sure to take the filter along."

Crowdfunding

The project is presented by the young research team on the Indiegogo platform. Investors can support the project with an amount ranging from 5 to 5,000 US dollars. Depending on the contribution, a donor can expect various perks, such as a thank-you video from the project leader. With a contribution of 89 dollars, a backer receives a filter and for 500 dollars, 10 units will be sent to Africa. Anyone can support the project until 20 August 2014 via the following link: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/drinkpure-a-novel-water-filtration-device


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by ETH Zürich. The original article was written by Anna Maltsev. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

ETH Zürich. "Membrane filter developed for clean water around the world." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 July 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723114029.htm>.
ETH Zürich. (2014, July 23). Membrane filter developed for clean water around the world. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723114029.htm
ETH Zürich. "Membrane filter developed for clean water around the world." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/07/140723114029.htm (accessed September 18, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

Raw: Scientists Examine Colossal Squid

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Squid experts in New Zealand thawed and examined an unusual catch on Tuesday: a colossal squid. It was captured in Antarctica's remote Ross Sea in December last year and has been frozen for eight months. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

Man Floats for 31 Hours in Gulf Waters

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — A Texas man is lucky to be alive after he and three others floated for more than a day in the Gulf of Mexico when their boat sank during a fishing trip. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

Researchers Explore Shipwrecks Off Calif. Coast

AP (Sep. 16, 2014) — Federal researchers are exploring more than a dozen underwater sites where they believe ships sank in the treacherous waters west of San Francisco in the decades following the Gold Rush. (Sept. 16) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Isolated N. Korea Asks For International Help With Volcano

Newsy (Sep. 16, 2014) — Mount Paektu volcano in North Korea is showing signs of life and there's not much known about it. Video provided by Newsy
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