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January 3rd, 2011
Lack of access to clean water is still a problem for millions of people across the world, but new developments in nanotechnology and a water filter that resembles a humble tea bag could prove to be effective solutions.
The "teabag" filter is the brain-child of Professor Cloete of Stellenbosch University.
It is designed to fit in the neck of a standard sized water bottle, meaning it is interchangeable, and, depending on the quality of water being filtered, costs between one and five cents per liter.
"The outside of the bag is coated in a polymer that includes a biocide, which means that it both filters water and kills bacteria -- we haven't yet come across a bacteria it can't kill.
"While the inside -- the tea, if you like -- is made of activated carbon, which can remove chemical pollutants.
The "teabag" isn't the only interesting filtration tech on the horizon, and researchers in California are developing a filter that uses nanotech and silver to produce clean water.
It works using a mesh made from a combination of tiny carbon cylinders -- known as nanotubes -- and silver wire. Silver is known to kill bacteria, but the addition of an electric current makes the process even more effective, killing up to 98% of bacteria.
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