Researchers at the University of Bath are developing a multi-disciplinary research project seeking to create an efficient, portable, and low-cost household water treatment (HWT) system for poor rural areas in developing countries.
“The potential to develop a cheap, durable, and portable device which can provide those most in need with safe, clean drinking water is an exciting prospect,” said Dr Emma Emanuelsson, project lead and lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
The team is using 3D printing to prototype new versions of the HWT system, testing each iteration with an indoor solar light that replicates pure sunlight. The Bath researchers’ sunlight water treatment device is based on something called a “SODIS Bottle” (SOlar DISinfection), a plastic bottle that deactivates microbes through a combination of heat and UV light from the sun. Researchers aren’t totally sure how much time the SODIS Bottle needs to decontaminate water, but the method has been proven to work.
The Bath team thinks its HWT system will be able to produce 35 liters of clean drinking water a day—shy of the 50 liters per person per day recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for drinking, showering, etc. but still far more than some people in deprived areas can currently access.