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Scepticism slows spread of solar disinfection tech

Local mistrust is slowing take up of simple innovations that use sunlight to disinfect water, a UK conference has heard.

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Researchers working on low-cost, low-tech water purification systems for developing countries are struggling to convince local people that their solutions work, the EuroScience Open Forum heard yesterday.

“We do not think enough about this. That’s why solar disinfection remains among the least-used technologies in this field.” Kevin McGuigan, Royal College of Surgeons, Ireland

This is because most communities prefer to use known technologies, such as ceramic filters and chemicals, to clean their water and make it safe to drink, scientists said. Read more

Researchers at Alexandria University in Egypt have unveiled a cost-effective desalination technology which can filter highly salty water in minutes.

The technology is based on membranes containing cellulose acetate powder, produced in Egypt. The powder, in combination with other components, binds the salt particles as they pass through, making the technique useful for desalinating seawater.

“The membrane we fabricated can easily be made in any laboratory using cheap ingredients, which makes it an excellent option for developing countries,” says Ahmed El-Shafei, an associate professor of agricultural and biosystems engineering in Alexandria University, and an author of the study. Read more

First observations made with deep-space water-hunting instrument

A team of astronomers has made the first observations with a cutting-edge water-hunting instrument. The instrument, known as the Swedish–ESO PI receiver for APEX (SEPIA), is not only suited for identifying signatures of water and other molecules in the Milky Way but also in other galaxies, and it may even be capable of detecting ancient water dating back to the early Universe.

sepia-water-hunting-instrument-1SEPIA is in essence a highly-sensitive spectrograph calibrated to search for a particular light wavelength (between 1.4 – 1.9 mm) that indicates the presence of water. Mounted aboard the Atacama Pathfinder Experiment (APEX) telescope, the delicate sensors must be cooled to a temperature only slightly above absolute zero in order to function optimally. Read more

Outdoor water cooler and filter brings a Little Luxury to camping

Camping can be fun, but going without the comforts of home isn’t for everybody. So if your idea of roughin’ it for the weekend still includes ice cold water and the ability to charge your phone, the Little Luxury Outdoor Extreme Water Cooler might be for you.

little-luxury-outdoor-water-cooler-12The Little Luxury Cooler is designed to be filled right from a natural water source, thanks to a filter designed to remove the nasties you might encounter drinking straight from a river or lake, and chills the water to a refreshing 43° F (6° C).

According to its inventor, Laurelle Charne, the idea for the water cooler came about during a camping trip that involved lugging big, heavy bottles of water to the site, even though there was a beautiful stream right there. Read more

Cheap, simple technique turns seawater into drinking water​

Researchers from the University of Alexandria have developed a cheaper, simpler and potentially cleaner way to turn seawater into drinking water than conventional methods.

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Researchers in Cairo have invented a cheap, simple way to turn seawater into drinking water

This could have a huge impact on rural areas of the Middle East and North Africa, where access to clean water is a pressing issue if social stability and economic development is to improve.

Right now, desalinating seawater is the only viable way to provide water to growing populations, and large desalination plants are now a fact of life in Egypt and other Middle Eastern countries.

Most of these plants rely on a multi-step process based on reverse osmosis, which requires expensive infrastructure and large amounts of electricity. These plants release large quantities of highly concentrated salt water and other pollutants back into the seas and oceans as part of the desalination process, creating problems for marine environments. Read more