Next: Water from waste

Next: Water from waste

NextWaterUniversity of Oregon chemistry professor Darren Johnson and Portland-based Crystal Clear Technologies are developing a water filter that will cleanse dangerous industrial waste water while at the same time harvest the valuable metals trapped in the water. Using nanotechnology that he and graduate student Jake Vickaryous developed in 2004, Johnson has created a filter material coated with nano-particles called chelators. The organic molecules bond with toxic metal ions, immobilizing them so that as water flows through the nano-coating, toxins are drawn out, leaving pure water. Then the metal-saturated filter will be sent to a smelter where the metals will be recovered and used for commercial purposes. The filters, which CCT president Lisa Farmen plans to field test this summer, are more affordable than other purification techniques and can be recharged multiple times. One day the filters might be used to help the 884 million people around the world who do not have access to safe drinking water

NICOLE STORMBERG