Pioneering method for water purification

May 19, 2014 by Michael P. Griffin

"We're using water to clean water." This is how Selma Mededovic Thagard describes her current work on purifying drinking water.

The assistant professor of & biomolecular engineering at Clarkson University is pioneering a new purification process that, if successful, could help millions of people without access to quickly and efficiently purify water to make it safe for drinking and cooking.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is funding this first-of-its-kind research project.

Thagard's method begins by changing water from liquid to vapor. "Then, we go beyond that," she says, "heating the vapor until it becomes plasma. In this state, the molecules become highly reactive. It's like creating lightning in liquids."

This conversion happens in a plasma reactor that generates an electrical field so powerful that within minutes it can purify several gallons of .

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"We're not heating the water that's being purified," Thagard says, "so the plasma reactor requires much less energy than some traditional purification methods. People all over the world—especially in places with few resources—could use this process to remove toxins and water-borne parasites from their drinking supply."

Explore further: New generation of water treatment membranes

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PPihkala
5 / 5 (2) May 19, 2014
I assume this can not remove any inorganic pollutants like heavy metals. But they can probably be filtered away.