Posted in | News | Pollution | Water

Bio-Inspired Membranes, A Sustainable Approach to Water Pollution

Scientists at Aston University will investigate a more environmentally friendly way of extracting impurities from water. Using this technique's exceptional molecular selectivity, a single pollutant can be extracted from water samples.

Image Credit: tawanroong/Shutterstock.com

According to estimates from the World Health Organization, about 500,000 people die each year as a result of microbiologically polluted water, and present filtering methods are insufficiently efficient.

The Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council has awarded the University a £165,999 grant to investigate the application of bioinspired membranes for the selective and energy-efficient removal of impurities from water. The membranes will be composed of plastic, but they will include transmembrane proteins incorporated in them since the University produced new polymers.

Transmembrane proteins allow some pollutants to be removed selectively by the use of transport channels that are between 4 and 10 nanometers in size, or about a million times smaller than an ant.

Aston University researchers, under the direction of chemistry lecturer Dr. Matt Derry, are creating bioinspired membranes that remove pollutants selectively and energy-efficiently.

The team’s concept, developed in collaboration with Dr. Alan Goddard, an Aston University biochemistry reader, is based on solutions discovered in biological evolution and refinement that have taken place over millions of years.

Polluted water is a complex global socioeconomic issue that affects human and animal health, and greatly impacts industries such as agriculture and fishing, recreational activities and transport. Current filtration technologies are ineffective and their manufacture often requires complex and expensive multi-step processes with high associated energy costs. We are going to use advanced polymer synthesis to develop new bespoke polymers which will both extract transmembrane proteins and immobilize them within artificial separation membranes. This will create water purification membranes which remove impurities with greater selectivity and specificity.

Dr. Matt Derry, Lecturer, Aston University

This project’s innovative membrane technology will progress and enhance membrane research. Other membrane filtration and water purification applications, such as the selective removal of phosphate from agricultural wastewater, could be implemented using the same platform materials and methodologies.

Dr. Derry added, “We are hoping that the new membranes will lead to high-performance devices that can contribute to a circular economy. The need for such new systems is recognized by the UN with Sustainable Development Goal six on clean water and sanitation.

The study is scheduled to start in April 2024 and conclude in May 2026.

Source: https://www.aston.ac.uk/

Tell Us What You Think

Do you have a review, update or anything you would like to add to this news story?

Leave your feedback
Your comment type
Submit
Azthena logo

AZoM.com powered by Azthena AI

Your AI Assistant finding answers from trusted AZoM content

Your AI Powered Scientific Assistant

Hi, I'm Azthena, you can trust me to find commercial scientific answers from AZoNetwork.com.

A few things you need to know before we start. Please read and accept to continue.

  • Use of “Azthena” is subject to the terms and conditions of use as set out by OpenAI.
  • Content provided on any AZoNetwork sites are subject to the site Terms & Conditions and Privacy Policy.
  • Large Language Models can make mistakes. Consider checking important information.

Great. Ask your question.

While we only use edited and approved content for Azthena answers, it may on occasions provide incorrect responses. Please confirm any data provided with the related suppliers or authors. We do not provide medical advice, if you search for medical information you must always consult a medical professional before acting on any information provided.

Your questions, but not your email details will be shared with OpenAI and retained for 30 days in accordance with their privacy principles.

Please do not ask questions that use sensitive or confidential information.

Read the full Terms & Conditions.