Filtering Flood Waters with Nanoparticles

flood, water, thailand, 2011, filter, nanoparticle, nanotechFor 175 days in 2011, sixty-five of Thailand’s provinces were inundated by flood waters. The flood caught many people off guard, and resulted in 815 deaths. 

According to the World Bank the devastation cost the Thai government more than $45 billion in economic losses and reconstruction costs.

It seems ironic, but in flood situations one of the first things to worry about is the supply of drinking water. Flood water, particularly the waters that inundate cities, carries disease and microbes that can lead to diarrhea, malaria and other

life threatening infections.

flood, water, thailand, 2011, filter, nanoparticle, nanotech

To help citizens get drinking water during natural disasters, the Thai government undertook a project to develop a portable water filtration unit. Named the SOS (Solar Operating System) Water System, the mobile unit will run on either solar power or batteries and can produce around 2000 liters of water per day. Key to the development of the unit was its nanoparticle filter.

According to Charmon Chawengkijwanich, a researcher at the National Nanotechnology Center of Thailand, “Nanotechnology is used in the filter. We use silver particles to coat the pores of the ceramic filter to minimize the amount of bacteria that comes in contact with the filter itself…. Coating ceramic filters with silver nanoparticles helps kill the bacteria.”

With global climate change making floods more frequent, countries that lay in floodplains or near sea level will have to begin developing the critical infrastructure to combat these events. The SOS water filtration system is an excellent first step forward.

Watch A Video About the SOS Unit:

Image and Video Courtesy of Wikipedia and Technology Review