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The UA leads a European project to improve water decontamination processes for human consumption


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The UA leads a European project to improve water decontamination processes for human consumption


The Advanced Materials Laboratory (LMA) of the University of Alicante (UA) leads a European project that seeks to improve the decontamination processes of water for human consumption, with the aim of developing adsorbent materials for application in portable water treatment systems. .

The Cleanwater project (Multifunctional sustainable adsorbents for water treatment assisted with plasma technologies and for health protection from xenobiotics) lasts four years, until the end of 2027, and has the collaboration of thirteen partners from universities, institutes and technology centers and companies from Budapest, the United Kingdom, Poland, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Ukraine and Mexico, as indicated by the Alicante academic institution in a statement.

The contamination of drinking water is a global health concern, preferably in rural areas, where the rate of vulnerable population is increasing. This challenge requires a "unique, easy to handle and low-cost" solution, capable of reducing the levels of chemical and radiological pathogens in a single, simple container.

Cleanwater aims to generate a novel water treatment technology that is "economical and easy to install" by applying plasma in the presence of adsorbent beds. The main researcher of the project and professor at the UA, Joaquín Silvestre, has explained that the combination of both processes in a single device will improve the efficiency of the decontamination processes of water for human consumption. "Chemical substances such as xenobiotics, emerging contaminants or persistent contaminants, among others, can be eliminated," he highlighted.

On the other hand, the project team intends to take advantage of these previously modified adsorbent materials for their application in the body. "Its function in the body will be the same: the elimination of external contaminants ingested either orally or cutaneously," the researcher detailed.

Climate change, natural disasters and wars like the one in Ukraine have made the search for quick and effective solutions to prevent the spread of waterborne epidemics and exposure to unsafe levels of heavy metals or dangerous pollutants of particular importance. relevance.

The complexity of such contamination with different organic and inorganic components requires a multicomponent system or device, in pill form, capable of specifically addressing each of these hazards at a time.

In this context, the project will have a "very positive" impact in rural communities where there is no access to drinking water. "It will be of special relevance for some of the countries participating in the project, such as Ukraine, Mexico, Moldova and Kazakhstan," stressed the UA researcher.

The contamination of natural water "very negatively" affects women, mainly pregnant women, children and the elderly. Therefore, these will be the groups that will benefit the most from the project.

The Advanced Materials Laboratory of the UA Department of Inorganic Chemistry has a long history in nanomaterials capable of adsorbing toxic substances. In fact, this group is a world leader in the synthesis and application of porous materials for pollutant removal processes, both in the gas phase and in the liquid phase. This experience is a key piece for the development of the European Cleanwater project, which has funding of almost 980,000 euros.