3.4 million people die every year from water-related diseases. But researchers from UWE Bristol are succeeding in creating new techniques of water filtration, which can be deployed in developing nations or remote locations. By James Riley- Scitech@westerneye.net

Using a pond on campus as their dirty water source, the team headed by Professor Darren Reynolds has developed a novel system which can produce clean drinking water in exceptionally quick time.

“The first stage of our project has resulted in the capacity to produce two cubic metres of drinking water in a 12 day period. This may not seem like a huge amount, but put into context, humans need a minimum of two litres of drinking water a day which is less than one cubic metre a year. Key to this project is the novel biocide that we have developed that does not corrode like chlorine,” says Professor Reynolds.

One problem with traditional water purification is the use of chlorine as a disinfectant, this erodes the inside of filtration devices, meaning that systems can only stay operational for short periods of time. The new system developed by UWE, and their industrial partners – Pentair, Portsmouth Aviation and Bridge Biotechnology Ltd – uses a novel biocide with innovative membranes which are not subjected to chlorine degradation. The portability of the device, which can fit in 20ft shipping containers, has lead to large numbers of orders already being placed.

Professor Reynolds continues, “Clean drinking water is obviously essential to life and we know there are many areas of the undeveloped world where people are still drinking water that is contaminated with disease or by thoughtless industrial practice that cause death and misery.

“Our novel biocide cleans the water but without the corrosive downside of chlorination. With our system it is possible for a drinking water treatment plant to be taken anywhere in the world that is reachable by road, sea or air. Our aim is to manufacture portable systems that can produce two cubic meters of drinking water every hour. This could make a huge difference to the everyday lives of people in remote areas and potentially during environmental disasters.”