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August 13th, 2010
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 fundamental 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.
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