The fabric that purifies water

Two million SEK for water purification project

The water purification technique that has been developed within Smart Textiles is set to receive two million SEK from Vinnova’s ‘VINN-Verification’ programme in order to further verify the method.

– This gives us a chance to take the next step and test and productify the textile-based water purification technique, Nils Krister Persson, Head of the Smart Textiles Technology Lab and the researcher behind the technology, says.

This is a good example of how one can transform research results from the lab into a product. For several years, Nils-Krister has worked with a number of water purification techniques, one of which involves binding photocatalytic particles to a fabric. The fabric is then submerged in a body of water, such as a stream or a pond, and when the surface of the textile is exposed to sunlight, chemical reactions that break down microorganisms such as bacteria and amoebas begin. Another method uses biotechnology, binding a special kind of fungus to the fabric and allowing it to grow. Many species of fungi have the ability to absorb heavy metals that are dissolved in water, for example leachate or urban run-off. Thanks to the textile, both methods can be used to create a mobile system for water purification – one to rid water of microorganisms, the other for heavy metals. It is easy to remove the fabric from the body of water when the process is complete. In cases in which fungi have been used, the heavy metals are removed along with the textile.

The project is entitled ‘Waterweave’, and the technique has been developed together with researcher Patrik Lennartsson at the University of Borås.