Water Tech Spotlight: the latest technology developments in the water industry | August 2021

The newly produced bioplastic consists of “hydroplastic polymers”, which become soft and malleable on contact with water. Photo courtesy of K Zhang

Technological solutions and innovations are essential to secure a water-wise future. Water Tech Spotlight is a monthly blog which aims to highlight the latest technology developments in the water industry globally. Scroll down to find out more.

1. ECO-FRIENDLY HYDRORESTTING PLASTIC

The newly produced bioplastic consists of “hydroplastic polymers”, which become soft and malleable on contact with water. Photo courtesy of K Zhang

Researchers at the University of Göttingen, Germany, have found a sustainable approach to plastic production: the hydrosetting method. Hydrosetting uses water to process and reshape a new type of hydroplastic polymer called cellulose cinnamate (CCi). The research was published in Nature Sustainability. Read more

2. GRAPHENE FOAM FOR FILTERING TOXINS FROM DRINKING WATER

A reusable 3D functionalized reduced graphene oxide foam (3D‐FrGOF) is used as an in situ electrolytic deposition electrode to extract uranium from contaminated water. Image courtesy of the researchers

A reusable 3D functionalized reduced graphene oxide foam (3D‐FrGOF) is used as an in situ electrolytic deposition electrode to extract uranium from contaminated water. Image courtesy of the researchers

By applying an electric charge to graphene oxide foam, uranium can be captured in solution and precipitates out as a condensed solid crystal. This highly efficient method was recently devised by an MIT-led research team for removing uranium from drinking water and the research was published on Advanced Materials. The foam is reusable up to several times without losing its electrochemical properties. This process can purify a large quantity of drinking water below the EPA limit for uranium within hours. Read more

3. NOVEL TECHNIQUE SEAMLESSLY CONVERTS AMMONIA TO GREEN HYDROGEN

Due to its high energy density, ease of storage & handling, and eco-friendly properties, ammonia has emerged as an attractive liquid for hydrogen production. A research team at UNIST (Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology, South Korea) has succeeded in producing green hydrogen (H2) in large quantities by decomposing liquid ammonia (NH3) into electricity with the use of a flower-like electrodeposited Pt catalyst. This finding was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry A. Read more

4. NEW WELSH WATER INNOVATION TO HELP PREVENT FLOODING AND POLLUTION INCIDENTS

Welsh Water manages a network of 30,000km km of sewers serving over three million people and businesses. Nowadays, sensors play a vital role in inspecting sewer conditions and identifying critical network issues, enabling water companies to proactively attend areas that are known to have problems whilst utilizing resources more efficiently. Recently, Welsh Water successfully tested an innovative radar sensor that can help prevent distressful internal sewer flooding incidents. Despite the conditions in the sewer, such as rags, wipes and grease, the radar sensor was still able to provide real time, accurate data. Read more

5. USING ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE TO UNLOCK EXTREME WEATHER MYSTERIES

Forecasting climate change impacts remains a challenge, owing to the complex causes of extreme events. Stanford University researchers have developed a machine learning tool to identify conditions for extreme precipitation events in the Midwest of the USA, which account for over half of all major flooding events across the nation. Published in Geophysical Research Letters, this approach is one of the first examples using artificial intelligence (AI) to analyse large-scale atmospheric circulation patterns associated with extreme precipitation. Read more

6. CONTROLLING THE MOVEMENT OF SMALL WATER DROPLETS VIA A SUPERPARAMAGNETIC RING

The manipulation of droplets via a magnetic field draws attention in several fields, including technological applications and basic studies in dynamic systems. Recently, a study carried out by the UPV/EHU’s Microfluidics Cluster, published by Advanced Functional Materials, has presented and characterized the formation and properties of a superparamagnetic ring. This precisely adjusts itself around a water droplet when an oil-based ferrofluid is in contact with the droplet under the influence of a magnetic field, allowing the drops to be physically manipulated. Read more

Disclaimer

The International Water Association (IWA) is not liable for any damages arising in contract, tort or otherwise from the use of or inability to use WaterTech Spotlight or any material contained in it, or from any action or decision taken as a result of using it. The contents of WaterTech Spotlight do not comprise the IWA’s views; they do not constitute legal or other professional advice. You should consult your professional adviser for legal or other advice.  IWA is not responsible for the content of any linked site or any link in a linked site. IWA is not responsible for any transmission received from any linked site. The links are provided to assist readers and the inclusion of a link does not imply that IWA endorses or has approved the linked site.

Chunyang (Sophie) Su

Senior Officer of Water Intelligence, IWA Nanjing Regional Office