CLEANER DRINKING WATER THANKS TO MEMBRANES
Clean drinking water is essential for human health. But how do we ensure that sufficient, clean drinking water remains available? And how do we make the process of water purification sustainable? At MESA+, research is being conducted into making drinking water cleaner by using membranes.
Unfortunately, surface water in the Netherlands contains increasing amounts of medicine residues, pesticides and hormones. These end up in the water through urine and agriculture, for example. Since it is extremely difficult to filter these molecules out of the water, scientists at MESA+ investigated a sustainable technique for purifying water.
Membranes – a kind of sieve on nanoscale – make it possible to filter even the tiniest impurities out of water, thus making our drinking water even cleaner. A membrane must allow good minerals to pass and at the same time keep out the pollutants. Producing these membranes is a challenge and often results in membranes that are expensive and that unfortunately are not stable in extreme environments, with very high or low pH values.
Scientists at MESA+, therefore, developed a membrane with a new type of plastic: salopastic. Membranes made of this plastic, or coated with a thin layer of this plastic, are stable in water with an extremely high or low pH value. this also makes the membranes useful for water desalination and fuel cells. The plastic is firm, flexible and completely dense down to the nanometre scale. The result: a sustainable and cheaper solution to purify water.