Water Technology / Treatment

  • Cleaning water while generating energy

    A fuel cell system that can generate electricity from organic compounds and clean up wastewater at the same time has been developed by scientists in China; the cell uses light energy to degrade organic compounds in wastewater, generating electrons that pass through to the cathode, which converts the chemical energy into electrical energy

  • Towing icebergs to provide fresh water for parched regions

    A third of the world’s population — more than two billion people — lives without access to clean drinking water, and studies show that the situation will only get worse; a French innovator has an idea: towing icebergs from the Greenland and Antarctica to regions most in need of fresh water; a computer simulation shows this solution to be viable and affordable

  • Solar-based method to provide safe water

    A revolutionary low-cost technique that uses sunshine to provide safe drinking water; solar disinfection (SODIS) of drinking water is an effective way of preventing water-borne diseases such as cholera, dysentery or polio — especially important in developing countries, where safe drinking water is often a precious rarity

  • New desalination technology to help solve world's water shortage

    Over one-third of the world’s population already lives in areas struggling to keep up with the demand for fresh water. By 2025, that number will nearly double; a new study argues that seawater desalination should play an important role in helping combat worldwide fresh water shortages once conservation, reuse, and other methods have been exhausted

  • New device identifies unknown liquids instantly

    Materials scientists and applied physicists have invented a new device that can instantly identify an unknown liquid; the 3D-nanostructured chip offers a litmus test for surface tension (and doubles as a carrier for secret messages); the researchers are currently developing more precisely calibrated chips and conducting field tests with government partners for applications in quality assurance and contaminant identification

  • Water purification unit generates its own energy

    A new biological water purification facility developed by Siemens generates enough methane gas to power its own operations; it also produces much less sludge than conventional systems; the test facility is mlocated in Singapore, and the city state is building a much larger pilot facility — one that will process 300 times more effluent than its predecessor, or about as much sewage water as is produced by around 1,000 people

  • Nanotechnology to help purify water

    Among many potential applications, carbon nanotubes are great candidate materials for cleaning polluted water; many water pollutants have very high affinity for carbon nanotubes and pollutants could be removed from contaminated water by filters made of this nanomaterial — for example, water soluble drugs which can hardly be separated from water by activated carbon

  • Majority of water in Mumbai unsafe to drink

    In May 2011 researchers found that one in ten water samples collected in locations across Mumbai, India were unsafe to drink; in some areas 40 percent of the samples collected were contaminated; most alarming was the fact that thirty-six of the water samples tested positive for E.coli bacteria; the local water utility has refused to acknowledge the problem

  • New tool predicts drought

    Knowing when to instigate water saving measures in dry times will be easier from now on, following a breakthrough in drought prediction: an Australian researcher has developed a way to predict droughts six months before they begin

  • Virtual water would not remedy global fresh water shortage

    More than 80 percent of humanity currently lives in regions where water security is threatened, meaning that as the global population grows against a finite volume of freshwater, a more equal distribution of water use between countries will be needed; virtual water — that is, the amount of water it takes to produce goods or a service — has been suggested as a possible solution to this growing problem by using virtual water values to inform international trade deals; a new study suggests that it may not be as revolutionary as first thought

  • Bacteria designed for sleuthing

    Seven Cambridge University undergraduates spent the summer of 2009 genetically engineering bacteria to secrete a variety of colored pigments, visible to the naked eye; they designed standardized sequences of DNA, known as BioBricks, and inserted them into E. coli bacteria — so the bacteria can now change its color to red, yellow, green, blue, brown, or violet; the bacteria can be programmed to do useful things, such as indicate whether drinking water is safe by turning red if they sense a toxin; other uses for the design bacterium include monitoring food additives, patenting issues, personalized medicine, terrorism, and new types of weather

  • Former world leaders say global water crisis must be addressed

    In March 2008, the U.K. intelligence services, in a report to then-prime minister Gordon Brown, warned that the deteriorating fresh water situation around the world would soon lead not only to tensions over water between states, but to “water wars”; world leaders, at least former world leaders, agree that the global water situation is dire, and twenty of them, led by Bill Clinton, meet to discuss solutions

  • New device could help stop one of the world's deadliest killers

    A new portable and low cost water sanitation device could help save millions of lives each year; water borne diseases contracted from contaminated water are one of the world’s leading causes of death; each year nearly two million people die, primarily young children, from preventable diseases like diarrhea, cholera, and typhoid from drinking unsafe water; it is estimated that roughly 1.1 billion people lack access to clean water, but all that could potentially change thanks to Torben Frandsen’s LifeStraw; LifeStraw is a 10 inch long straw that is capable of generating 185 gallons of clean water, requires no electricity, and can be cheaply manufactured

  • Keeping water clean

    Cardiff University researchers create a real-time broadband monitor to detect and warn of impurities in water supplies; the new monitor works by using bioluminescence to detect the presence of potentially toxic substances of chemical or biological origin and immediately warn of suspicious change

  • University of Oklahoma student offers solutions Ethiopia's water problems

    In Ethiopia’s Rift Valley, the high levels of fluoride in the drinking water result in dental and skeletal disease; left untreated, fluorosis causes darkening of the teeth and bone deformities; a University of Oklahoma student has been investigating inexpensive, sustainable and locally available solutions, such as adsorption — a useful technology for fluoride removal from drinking water because it does not require energy input outside of gravity and, depending on the material used, can be very effective at removing fluoride to meet the World Health Organization standard