Microplastics have been detected almost everywhere on Earth, from the deep oceans to the poles to the highest mountain peaks, and even inside the human body. As a result, microplastic pollution has become a growing source of concern, particularly threatening the ocean and its inhabitants. Cutting-edge solutions are required to solve this problem and protect the environment.
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The difficulty comes from the fact that microplastics are tiny fragments of plastic (less than five millimeters) that are hard to find and remove.
Related: New magnetic material can clean microplastics in an hour
Now, in a major advancement, scientists have created a new water purification system to meticulously remove microplastics. This new system holds the promise to remove more than 99.9% of the microplastics and other pollutants from the water.
This emerging technology comes from researchers at the Daegu Gyeongbuk Institute of Science and Technology (DGIST) in South Korea. They created this novel system to filter microplastics from water in less time, as well as in an efficient manner, as compared to the other existing technologies.
The most significant advantage stems from the material used to develop this system. The team used a material known as a covalent triazene framework for this purpose (CTF). The study reveals that it is a porous material with a high adsorption material efficiency. This adds to the power of the system!
“The technology is an unrivaled with the world’s highest purification efficiency, removing more than 99.9% of phenolic microplastics and volatile organic compound (VOC) contaminants in water at ultra-high speeds,” explained Professor Park Chi-Young, who led this new study.
According to the team, one of the major contributors to environmental pollution is the chemical industry. Various water purification systems and materials have been developed to address this issue, however, they are not touted to be that effective. Carbon-based porous materials, for example, have a slow adsorption rate, while recycling this substance also requires a significant amount of thermal energy.
On the other hand, this next-generation water purification material comes with a number of advantages. The material can be reused several times without losing its effectiveness. While the material’s production cost is also low — without sacrificing its functionality.
Once mainstream, this solution could significantly aid in the removal of microplastics from water bodies, and help restore the planet’s oceans.
Chi-Young further added, “we expect that it will be a universal technology with high economic efficiency that can purify contaminated water and supply drinking water even in areas where there is no power supply.”
The results have been published in the journal Advanced Materials.
Lead image via Pexels