Swedish researchers have co-developed a new method that can purify contaminated water using a cellulose-based material.
This discovery could create opportunities for countries with poor water treatment technologies and combat the widespread problem of toxic dye discharge from the textile industry.
“We have created a biobased material, a form of cellulose powder with excellent purification properties that we can adapt and modify depending on the types of contaminants that needs to be removed,” said Gunnar Westman, associate professor of organic chemistry at Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden.
The treatment doesn’t require neither pressure nor heat, and uses sunlight to catalyze the process.
Laboratory tests with industrial water have shown, that more than 80% of the dye pollutants are removed with the method.
“Going from discharging completely untreated water to removing 80% of the pollutants is a huge improvement. This means significantly less destruction of nature and harm to humans,” said Westman.
Westman also sees great opportunities to use cellulose nanocrystals for the treatment of other water pollutants in the future.