http://www.engineeringnews.co.za
  SEARCH
Login
R/€ = 14.27Change: -0.05
R/$ = 11.32Change: -0.09
Au 1214.15 $/ozChange: -3.82
Pt 1305.00 $/ozChange: -4.00
 
 
Note: Search is limited to the most recent 250 articles. Set date range to access earlier articles.
Where? With... When?








Start
 
End
 
 
And must exclude these words...
Close Main Search
Close Main Login
My Profile News Alerts Newsletters Logout Close Main Profile
 
Agriculture   Automotive   Chemicals   Competition Policy   Construction   Defence   Economy   Electricity   Energy   Environment   ICT   Metals   Mining   Science and Technology   Services   Trade   Transport & Logistics   Water  
What's On Press Office Tenders Suppliers Directory Research Jobs Announcements Contact Us
 
 
 
RSS Feed
Article   Comments   Other News   Research   Magazine  
 
 
Aug 13, 2010

Stellenbosch University scientists patent tea-bag-like water filter

Back
Expertise|SECURITY|Africa|Coca-Cola|Environment|Flow|InnovUS|Maplecroft|PROJECT|Projects|Security|Water|Africa|South Africa|United Kingdom|Security|Stellenbosch University|Stellenbosch University Water Institute|Flow|Food Microbiology|Point-of-use Technology|Product|Purification Infrastructure|Security|Solutions|Eugene Cloete|Eugene Smit|Infrastructure|Leon Dicks|Marelize Botes|Michéle De Kwaadsteniet|Russel Botman|Security|Water|Decentralised, Point-of-use Technology
Expertise|SECURITY|Africa|Environment|Flow|PROJECT|Projects|Security|Water|Africa||Security||Flow|Security|Solutions|Infrastructure|Security|Water|
expertise|security|africa-company|cocacola|environment|flow-company|innovus|maplecroft|project|projects|security-company|water-company|africa|south-africa|united-kingdom|security-facility|stellenbosch-university-facility|stellenbosch-university-water-institute|flow-industry-term|food-microbiology|point-of-use-technology|product|purification-infrastructure|security-industry-term|solutions|eugene-cloete|eugene-smit|infrastructure|leon-dicks|marelize-botes|michle-de-kwaadsteniet|russel-botman|security-person|water|decentralised-point-of-use-technology
© Reuse this



A high-tech, low-cost disposable water 
 filter that fits into the neck of a 
 water bottle and delivers clean water as one drinks from it has been developed and should be commercialised in the next few months.

Professor Eugene Cloete, microbiologist and Dean of the Faculty of Science at Stellenbosch University (SU), together with researchers from the Department of Microbiology and SU polymer scientists, recently patented the portable, easy-to-use and environment-friendly water filter bag, which looks like a tea bag.

The bag is filled with active carbon granules that remove harmful chemicals like endocrine disruptors. 
Cloete says that each “tea bag” filter can clean the most polluted water to the point where it is 100% safe to drink. Once used, the bag is thrown away, and a new one is inserted into the bottle neck.

The sachet combines years of funda-mental research on water purification, nanotechnology and food microbiology in a practical way. 
It aims to provide easy access to clean drinking water for vulnerable communities living near polluted water streams. 
There are also plans to commercialise the filter bag into a product that can be used by outdoor enthusiasts on hiking or camping trips.

As a past executive vice-president of global network of water professionals the International Water Association and a member of Coca-Cola’s global panel of water experts, Cloete believes water provision and sustainability go hand in hand. “The lack of adequate, safe and affordable water supplies impacts severely on vulnerable groups, such as the poor, the elderly, HIV patients and children,” he says.

A water security risk index of 165 nations, released by UK-based risk consultancy firm Maplecroft in June found that African and Asian nations had the most vulnerable water supplies, judged by factors such as availability of drinking water, demand per capita and dependence on rivers that flow through other countries. Cloete adds that more than 90% of all cholera cases are reported in Africa, and 300-million people on the continent do not have access to safe drinking water.

“The ‘tea bag’ filter can show the way forward, as it represents decentralised, point-of-use technology. 
“It can assist in meeting the needs of people who live or travel in remote areas, or people whose regular water supply is not treated to potable standards. 
“As it is impossible to build purification infrastructure at every polluted stream, we have to take the solution to the people,” he notes.

The invention has become one of the first significant projects of the recently established Stellenbosch University Water Institute, a transdisciplinary initiative established to intensify the search for lasting solutions to the country’s and the continent’s water challenges. 
Cloete, who also chairs the Water Insti-tute, says he got the idea for the filter 
during an introductory visit to the SU’s technology transfer company, InnovUS, 
18 months ago.

“I was shown the electrospinning technique of spinning ultrathin fibres on a nanoscale, developed by polymer scientist Dr Eugene Smit, of the SU Department of Chemistry and Polymer Science. My mind immediately started churning up the possibilities of how it could be used to clean polluted water,” he says.

A research team was put together and, after various trials and experiments, a filter sachet was developed that not only resembles a tea bag in shape and size, but is made of the same biodegradable material as off-the-shelf rooibos tea bags. The inside of the tea bag material is coated with a thin film of biocides encapsulated within minute nanofibres, which kill all disease-causing microbes.

“We tested the filter with water taken from a river in the Stellenbosch area. The samples were highly polluted with pathogens, but they came out completely clean on the other side,” says postdoctoral fellow Dr Michéle de Kwaadsteniet, who is working on the project with Cloete and Professor Leon Dicks, of the Department of Microbiology.

Postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Microbiology and a member of the water filter bag research team Dr Marelize Botes says that it is exciting to be part of a potentially life-changing project. “It is such an easy-to-use and practical solution to something that’s been a significant challenge for so long,” she notes.

The ‘tea bag’ filter is currently being tested by the South African Bureau of Standards, after which the team hopes to roll it out to various communities.

The Stellenbosch University Water Institute and its ‘tea bag’ water filter form part of SU’s Hope Project, a set of development goals aimed at improving the quality of life of people living in South Africa and on the rest of the continent.

SU rector and vice chancellor Professor Russel Botman adds that the university believes that science should serve the needs of society. “By aligning the expertise of our scientists with the national and global development agenda, we want to become more relevant to society,” he concludes.

Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
© Reuse this Comment Guidelines (150 word limit)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Latest News
Updated 16 minutes ago Cell C has indicated its plans to challenge the asymmetry rates set within the latest mobile termination rates (MTRs) tabled by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) this week. Speaking at the MyBroadband conference, in Midrand, on Tuesday,...
Updated 19 minutes ago A recent study by the South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) has shown that the service quality of the South African National Roads Agency Limited’s (Sanral’s) e-toll system was mostly poor regardless of the level of interaction or the user’s...
SARB Deputy Governor Lesetja Kganyago
Updated 30 minutes ago South Africa's central bank has little policy room to boost demand in the economy and it should keep its focus on taming inflation, Deputy Governor Lesetja Kganyago said on Tuesday. Likely interest rate increases in the US would require corresponding policy shifts in...
More
 
 
Recent Research Reports
Road and Rail 2014: A review of South Africa's road and rail infrastructure (PDF report)
Creamer Media’s Road and Rail 2014 report examines South Africa’s road and rail transport system, with particular focus on the size and state of the country’s road and rail network, the funding and maintenance of these respective networks, and the push to move road...
Real Economy Year Book 2014 (PDF Report)
This edition drills down into the performance and outlook for a variety of sectors, including automotive, construction, electricity, transport, steel, water, coal, gold, iron-ore and platinum.
Real Economy Insight: Automotive 2014 (PDF Report)
This four-page brief covers key developments in the automotive industry over the past 12 months, including an overview of South Africa’s automotive market, trade figures, production and the policies influencing the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Construction 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the construction industry over the past 12 months. It provides an overview of the sector and includes details of employment in the sector, infrastructure and municipal spending, as well as insight into companies’...
Real Economy Insight: Electricity 2014 (PDF Report)
This five-page brief covers key developments in the electricity industry over the past 12 months, including details of State-owned power utility Eskom’s generation activities, funding and tariffs, independent power producers and prospects for the sector.
Real Economy Insight: Road and Rail 2014 (PDF Report)
This six-page brief covers key developments in the road and rail industries over the past 12 months, including details of South Africa’s road and rail network and prospects for both sectors.
 
 
 
 
 
This Week's Magazine
The South African new vehicle market is likely to reach around 630 000 units in 2014, down from the 650 000 units recorded in 2013, says Toyota South Africa Motors (TSAM) president and CEO Dr Johan van Zyl. Van Zyl is also president of the National Association of...
Efforts by the Kenya government to increase energy generation by 5 000 MW over the next three years received a major boost following the award of a $2-billion contract to build a coal power plant in Lamu.  Despite allegations of irregular tendering process, the...
Using crafty wordplay on a well-known Internet meme, brilliant South African-born US entrepreneur and businessperson Elon Musk announced that Tesla Motors would not initiate patent lawsuits against anyone who, in good faith, wanted to use its technology. Instead,...
August new vehicle sales declined by 1.4%, to 55 722 units, compared with the same month last year. Assisted by the car rental market, the South African new passenger car market, at 37 953 units, contracted by 1 047 units, or 2.7%, compared with August last year.
With South Africans facing the challenge of reducing electricity consumption, the biennial Eskom Energy Efficient Lighting Design Competition, to encourage the integration of energy efficient lighting in architectural, engineering and interior design, received a...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Alert Close
Embed Code Close
content
Research Reports Close
Research Reports are a product of the
Research Channel Africa. Reports can be bought individually or you can gain full access to all reports as part of a Research Channel Africa subscription.
Find Out More Buy Report
 
 
Close
Engineering News
Completely Re-Engineered
Experience it now. Click here
*website to launch in a few weeks