Testing has begun at UWE Bristol on a portable purification system that could bring clean drinking water to areas of the world without reliable access to a safe supply.
The mini mobile treatment plant — developed by scientists at the university — can purify hundreds of thousands of litres of water, potentially providing a solution for one billion people around the globe.
Trials are being conducted at the Frenchay campus for three months, before the system’s deployment in India next year for further testing — and then use by communities.
Initial tests have shown that the system can transform dirty water drawn from a pond into clean water — meeting UK drinking-water standards — at a rate of 500 litres per hr.
Known as The Ninja, the 1.5 x 1.5m unit has the potential to quickly produce safe drinking water for decentralised communities, or those affected by humanitarian disasters.
It uses an ultra-filtration system and electrochemically activated solutions that disinfect raw water, removing biological contaminants including bacteria and viruses, as well as reducing agricultural and industrial contaminants such as nitrates, ammonia and metals.
The system is the culmination of 10 years’ work, having started life as an academic research project in a small shed on campus — affectionately named ‘Stanley’ by researchers. It is part of UWE Bristol’s drive to make a difference on a global level with ground-breaking research.
UWE Bristol (www.uwe.ac.uk
) has collaborated on the project with industrial partner Portsmouth Aqua Ltd, which designs and manufactures the treatment system.
The unit will be trialled in fresh-water catchments in India, as part of a UK Research and Innovation project that will also see UWE Bristol researchers testing the quality and health of the River Ganges with a novel V-Lux sensor developed through a partnership with Chelsea Technologies Ltd.
The fluorescence sensor will monitor the microbial activity of Indian fresh-water sources to determine the dirtiness of the water that local communities rely upon.