Innovative Water Purification Technology

The following abstract describes an exciting new development that could, eventually, enhance access to clean drinking water in our islands. We’ll keep you updated on how this technology progresses.

Porous Ceramic Tablet Embedded with Silver Nanopatches for Low-Cost Point-of-Use Water Purification

Beeta Ehdaie , Carly Krause , and James A. Smith *

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia 22904, United States

Environ. Sci. Technol., 2014, 48 (23), pp 13901–13908

DOI: 10.1021/es503534c

Publication Date (Web): November 11, 2014

This work describes a novel method to embed silver in ceramic porous media in the form of metallic silver nanopatches. This method has been applied to develop a new POU technology, a silver-infused ceramic tablet that provides long-term water disinfection. The tablet is fabricated using clay, water, sawdust, and silver nitrate. When dropped into a household water storage container, the ceramic tablet releases silver ions at a controlled rate that in turn disinfect microbial pathogens. Characterization of the silver-embedded ceramic media was performed using transmission electron microscopy. Spherical-shaped patches of metallic silver were observed at 1–6 nm diameters and confirmed to be silver with energy dispersive spectroscopy. Disinfection experiments in a 10 L water volume demonstrated a 3 log reduction of Escherichia coli within 8 h while silver levels remained below the World Health Organization drinking water standard (0.1 mg/L). Silver release rate varied with clay mineralogy, sawdust particle size, and initial silver mass. Silver release was repeatable for daily 10 L volumes for 154 days. Results suggest the ceramic tablet can be used to treat a range of water volumes. This technology shows great potential to be a low-cost, simple-to-use water treatment method to provide microbiologically safe drinking water at the household level.

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