Researchers from Malaviya National Institute of Technology, Jaipur in India and Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden have created a new technique that quickly and easily purifies tainted water using a cellulose-based substance.
This finding may have ramifications for nations with inadequate water treatment systems and help address the pervasive issue of harmful dye discharge from the textile industry.
The key to water filtration is found in cellulose nanocrystals, which the researchers have amassed a thorough understanding of. According to Chalmers University, the researchers have now discovered a way to use the high adsorption capacity of these tiny nanoparticles.
“We have now created a biobased material, a form of cellulose powder with excellent purification properties that we can adapt and modify depending on the types of pollutants to be removed,” said Gunnar Westman, associate professor of organic chemistry at Chalmers University of Technology. Westman leads the research group that is part of the Wallenberg Wood Science Center.
The latest research study demonstrated how the technique and materials created by the researchers can remove harmful colours from wastewater. The process was catalyzed by sunshine and did not require pressure or heat. Westman compared the process to adding raspberry juice to a glass of rice grains, which absorb the juice and restore transparency to the water.
India is one of the developing nations in Asia with a significant textile industry, and as a result, a lot of dye is discharged annually into lakes, rivers, and streams.
The next stage is to conduct field studies in India, and the Chalmers researchers are now assisting their Indian counterparts in their efforts to convince some of the nation’s small-scale enterprises to put the approach to the test in practice.
More than 80% of the dye contaminants are currently eliminated by the new process, according to laboratory testing using industrial water, and Westman believes there are good chances to further boost the level of purification.
Westman also said, “Going from discharging completely untreated water to remove 80 percent of the pollutants is a huge improvement, and means significantly less destruction of nature and harm to humans.”
Additionally, Westman sees enormous potential for using cellulose nanocrystals to cure water contaminants other than dyes.