New MIT water purification method eliminates even trace chemical waste and pesticides

May 12, 2017 by  
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Ridding water of tiny concentrations of pollutants isn’t easy. Typically, a lot of energy or chemicals are required to remove these dangerous contaminants – but that could change. Scientists at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Technical University of Darmstadt in Germany have come up with an electrochemical process able to pull out toxins like chemical wastes, pharmaceuticals , or pesticides . Their process could help people in developing countries obtain water without those unhealthy compounds. The scientists pioneered an electrochemical process able to selectively get rid of organic pollutants, which can be harmful even in minimal amounts. Here’s how it works: small surfaces are coated with Faradaic materials which can become positively or negatively charged after reactions. An electrical source is added to the surfaces, and then as water flows around the materials, the surface materials are tuned to bind with noxious pollutants. Unlike other systems that require either high pressures or high voltages to work, the new way can function at what chemical engineering professor T. Alan Hatton described as relatively benign low voltages and pressures. Related: Researchers develop solar-powered device to harvest water in the desert The system could help people in the developing world obtain water free of toxic pollutants. Chemical engineer Xiao Su of MIT , lead author on a paper published recently in Energy and Environmental Science , said in a statement, “Such systems might ultimately be useful for water purification systems in remote areas in the developing world, where pollution from pesticides, dyes, and other chemicals are often an issue in the water supply.” Su said the system, which is highly efficient, could operate even in rural locations with a little help from solar panels . The new method isn’t quite ready to go yet, but mechanical engineer Matthew Suss of Technion Institute of Technology in Israel seems hopeful. He said the system still needs to be tested under real-word conditions and for lengthy periods of time to see if it’s durable, but the prototype “achieved over 500 cycles, which is a highly promising result.” Via MIT News Images via Melanie Gonick/MIT and Felice Frankel

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New MIT water purification method eliminates even trace chemical waste and pesticides

Swedish researchers develop low-cost wood filter to purify water in refugee camps

March 22, 2017 by  
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At least 780 million people in the world lack access to clean water , a dire problem exacerbated by the increasing number of people living in poorly-equipped refugee camps . Researchers from KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden may have come up with a low-cost, low-tech solution: a portable wood filter that doesn’t require a power source to produce clean water. KTH scientists developed a material from wood cellulose that can trap bacteria , and are testing the material for use as a water filter. PhD student Anna Ottenhall said, “Our aim is that we can provide the filter for a portable system that doesn’t need electricity – just gravity – to run raw water through it…The bacteria-trapping material does not leach any toxic chemicals into the water, as many other on-site purification methods do.” Related: Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1NaJ2zRPleQ The wood cellulose fibers utilized are antibacterial, and are dipped in a positively-charged polymer solution to create the material, which works since bacteria and viruses are negatively charged, according to Phys.org. The harmful viruses and bacteria stick to the material, unable to get free or reproduce, and eventually die. Another benefit of this method of purification is that bacteria won’t be able to build up a resistance to it. The Swedish research team envisions their material used as a water filter in places that lack wells or infrastructure, like refugee camps or in emergencies. After use, the material can simply be burned. Bandages, packaging, and plasters could potentially draw on the material as well to dispose of bacteria in ways that don’t put toxins into the environment . KTH researchers are developing several other wood-based materials along with this wood water filter, such as see-through wood, a wood polystyrene alternative, and squishy wood batteries. Via Phys.org Images via KTH Royal Institute of Technology and Wikimedia Commons

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Swedish researchers develop low-cost wood filter to purify water in refugee camps

Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water

November 22, 2016 by  
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Utilizing light to purify water isn’t a new idea, but Ohio State University researchers recently developed a portable, cheap way to cleanse water with light anywhere in the world. Their LED foil prototype has the potential to revolutionize water purification with deep-ultraviolet (UV) light. Deep-UV lights are already used to purify medical equipment and water, but such light usually comes from cumbersome mercury lamps. By putting LED lights on metal foil, the Ohio State researchers may have avoided the problems usually associated with purifying water with deep-UV light. They designed their LEDs to glow with that sterilizing deep-UV light, and when their flexible prototype is folded around objects and energized, it could kill dangerous microorganisms. Related: Groundbreaking affordable, paper-thin filter removes viruses from water Roberto Myers, materials science and engineering associate professor at Ohio State, said in a statement, “Right now, if you want to make deep ultraviolet light, you’ve got to use mercury lamps. Mercury is toxic and the lamps are bulky and electrically inefficient. LEDs, on the other hand, are really efficient, so if we could make UV LEDs that are safe and portable and cheap, we could make safe drinking water wherever we need it.” The LED foil could offer a more environmentally friendly light to purify water. The researchers are confident they will be able to scale up their prototype; their goal is to transform nanophotonics, a study centered around how objects just nanometers big interact with light, into a profitable industry. “People always said that nanophotonics will never be commercially important, because you can’t scale them up,” said Myers. “Well, now we can. We can make a sheet of them if we want.” The journal Applied Physics Letters published the researcher’s paper on the LED foil. The researchers will continue working to make the LEDs shine brighter. Via New Atlas Images via Brelon J. May courtesy of The Ohio State University and Wikimedia Commons

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Researchers design cheap mercury-free LED foil to purify water

Open-source phytoremediation project tackles the Tiber River’s pollution crisis

April 15, 2016 by  
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Parabosol is a portable solar-powered water treatment system for remote areas

April 11, 2016 by  
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Over 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water globally. Although clean water is a basic human right, it continues to be a growing epidemic in the developing world, predominantly in remote communities. Hakan Gürsu of Designnobis devised the Parabosol , a portable solar-powered water purification system for use in remote areas. The system filters and purifies drinking water using a parabolic mirror that boils contaminated water at up to 400 degrees celsius. After boiling, a set of sand and carbon filters catch sand particles and remove odor dissolved gases. Parabosol can clean up to 170 liters of water in a single use. The project was honored with the silver award at the 2014-2015 A’ Design Awards, and it was also a nominee in Design Index 2015. + Parabosol The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing!

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Parabosol is a portable solar-powered water treatment system for remote areas

These student-designed cabins for Outward Bound are rustic and awesome

April 11, 2016 by  
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Solar-powered Watly provides internet, energy, and drinking water for Ghana residents

April 11, 2016 by  
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When it comes to renewable energy in developing nations, sometimes a solid multitasker is the way to go. That’s the idea behind the Watly system, a solar-powered machine that stores electricity, purifies water, and connects local residents to the internet . After running a pilot program with a stripped-down version of the machine in Ghana, the company is gearing up to create Watly 3.0, a bigger, better renewable energy machine. Read the rest of Solar-powered Watly provides internet, energy, and drinking water for Ghana residents

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Mountain-shaped Ama’r Children’s Culture House in Copenhagen has no beginning or end

April 11, 2016 by  
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Is this protein the key to an anti-aging pill?

April 11, 2016 by  
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From serums to plastic surgery to antioxidants, humans are continually trying to delay the inevitable aging process. Now researchers claim they may be one step closer to an anti-aging pill – and it all comes down to one little protein molecule. According to the team, a pill that limits the protein GSK-3 could increase the human lifespan by seven to ten years . Read the rest of Is this protein the key to an anti-aging pill?

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2,500 orbiting solar “flying carpets” could power the planet

April 11, 2016 by  
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One need not venture to the Cave of Wonders to discover the magic of flying carpets. The  Space Solar Power Initiative (SSPI), a collaboration between Caltech and global security company Northrup Grumman, has proposed the development of solar paneled “flying carpets,” each nearly the size of a football field, that would orbit in sync while gathering energy. This interstellar solar energy would then be beamed down to the planet to provide clean power across the globe. Read the rest of 2,500 orbiting solar “flying carpets” could power the planet

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