Researchers at the Arcada University of Applied Sciences, Helsinki, have developed a new cost-efficient technology to produce separation membranes for the purification of water, at less than half the previous cost.
Soiled or salty water can be made potable by current technologies, but these are either costly or unreasonably energy-intensive. The most promising, but also the costliest, alternative is offered by separation with nanoporous membranes.
Arcada has been developing new technology for the production of nanoporous membranes for around five years. The research team has now, for the first time in the world, succeeded in producing nanopores using a method previously considered impossible. Thanks to this breakthrough, these membranes can be manufactured for less than a half of the previous cost. The new production method is based on a combination of several low-cost technologies.
According to Mikael Paronen, head of the research department, both its cost-efficiency and manufacturability give rise to great optimism.
— Our goal is to further develop the technology so that a finished product could be launched on the market within around two years, says Paronen.
According to him, the new technology could be highly significant in improving the availability of clean water on a global scale. In addition to the production of potable water, the innovation could offer advantages at least in the separation of valuable or harmful substances from process water.
According to the UN, more than a billion people are affected by the lack of clean water.