Clean and abundant water is the keystone of thriving communities but increasing industrialization and sudden changes in climate patterns are rapidly depleting rivers. The remaining surface and underground water also carries the risk of being contaminated by heavy, toxic metals and other impurities which is a cause of concern and unsafe to drink.
A new type of water filter is proving remarkably effective at removing these heavy metals. Tests show that it can remove up to 99% of heavy metals.
The inventors of this filter include a high-school student from the US and a researcher from Rice University in Texas. People behind the invention believe that just one gram of the filter material is enough to filter 83,000 liters of water. The filter removes cadmium, cobalt, copper, mercury, nickel and lead. Moreover, it can then be washed with vinegar and also reused.
Every culture on the planet knows how to make vinegar. This would make the biggest social impact on village-scale units that could treat water in remote, developing regions. – Andew Barron, chemist at Rice University
Despite being made for commercial use, the researchers do believe that these filters can be scaled-up for mass-scale use.
Perry Alagappan, the former high school student, who helped with the research, is now in Stanford University and has earned a number of awards for this research.
He says that his motivation came solely from the desire to remove toxic metals from drinking water in remote locations and the Fukushima disaster where filters were needed to remove complex radioactive metal waste.
It’s been a tremendous honor to be recognized on an international level for this research, and I am grateful for the opportunity to work on this project alongside such a talented group of individuals – Perry Alagappan
The full research is available here.