One Atom Away From Clean Water
A breakthrough discovery from Sandia National Laboratories could help keep a lid on the rising cost of chemical water treatment and make clean drinking water more affordable in "water challenged" areas of the world. Working with researchers at the University of California, the Sandia team substituted one atom in aluminum oxide, a common chemical used to coagulate impurities in water. The new compound promises a more sustainable way to decontaminate wastewater as well as purify drinking water. Next step: Sandia has partnered with the award-winning water technology company Kemira to bring the new compound into commercial production.
The Sandia development could help provide some much-needed breathing room for water suppliers, which have been struggling for resources to purchase water treatment chemicals during a period of price and supply instability. Alongside improvements in the efficiency of chemical processes, the water treatment industry is also rapidly developing non-chemical water treatments including UV disinfection, new high-tech membranes, and ultrasound.