Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ETH student develops filter for clean water around the world

24.07.2014

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.

DrinkPure filter

This image depicts ETH student Jeremy Nussbaumer with his DrinkPure filter.

Credit: (photo: Anna Maltsev / ETH Zurich)

"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 (as reported in ETH News) 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: http://www.indiegogo.com

Media Releations ETH Zurich | Eurek Alert!
Further information:
http://www.ethz.ch

Further reports about: DrinkPure filter ETH bacteria battery bottle drink fragments manufacture particles powder

More articles from Innovative Products:

nachricht A fashionable chemical and biological threat detector-on-a-ring
12.10.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht Healthy Hiking in Smart Socks
22.02.2017 | Technische Universität Chemnitz

All articles from Innovative Products >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

Im Focus: Virtual Reality for Bacteria

An interdisciplinary group of researchers interfaced individual bacteria with a computer to build a hybrid bio-digital circuit - Study published in Nature Communications

Scientists at the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST Austria) have managed to control the behavior of individual bacteria by connecting them to a...

Im Focus: A space-time sensor for light-matter interactions

Physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (run jointly by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics) have developed an attosecond electron microscope that allows them to visualize the dispersion of light in time and space, and observe the motions of electrons in atoms.

The most basic of all physical interactions in nature is that between light and matter. This interaction takes place in attosecond times (i.e. billionths of a...

Im Focus: A transistor of graphene nanoribbons

Transistors based on carbon nanostructures: what sounds like a futuristic dream could be reality in just a few years' time. An international research team working with Empa has now succeeded in producing nanotransistors from graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, as reported in the current issue of the trade journal "Nature Communications."

Graphene ribbons that are only a few atoms wide, so-called graphene nanoribbons, have special electrical properties that make them promising candidates for the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

Blockchain is becoming more important in the energy market

05.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Making fuel out of thick air

08.12.2017 | Life Sciences

Rules for superconductivity mirrored in 'excitonic insulator'

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

Smartphone case offers blood glucose monitoring on the go

08.12.2017 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>