Consumption of contaminated water poses a significant global health challenge, resulting in an astonishing 2 million deaths annually.
Now scientists have developed a sunlight-activated powder that can rapidly eliminate harmful microbes in water, rendering it safe for drinking within just one minute.
Only a small amount of powder can treat a significant volume of water and rapidly eliminate harmful microbes.
Scientists from Stanford University and the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have created this cost-effective powder. It consists of nanoflakes made from aluminum oxide, molybdenum sulfide, copper, and iron oxide.
Conventional water-treatment methods, such as chemical treatment and ultraviolet light, have drawbacks including the production of toxic by-products and the need for electricity. Whereas this harmless metallic powder works by absorbing both UV and high-energy visible light from the sun.
How does it work?
To purify water using the sunlight-activated powder, users simply have to mix it into the contaminated water in a transparent bottle and leave it exposed to direct sunlight.
After purification, any remaining hydrogen peroxide and hydroxyl radicals decompose into harmless water and oxygen. The nanoflakes in the powder, containing iron oxide, can be easily collected for reuse by using a magnet.
In a successful test, no live bacteria were found in the water after only 60 seconds of exposure to sunlight. Furthermore, the powder was able to be reused for an additional 30 treatment cycles.
The cost-effective, recyclable powder offers a promising solution for 30% of the world’s population without safe drinking water.