U of Illinois & Ben-Gurion U Create ‘Ultra’ Filtration Membranes that remove viruses from drinking water


 

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Current membrane filtration methods require intensive energy to adequately remove pathogenic viruses without using chemicals like chlorine, which can contaminate the water with disinfection byproducts. Researchers at UIUC and BGU collaborated on the new approach for virus pathogen removal, which was published in the current issue of Water Research.

“This is an urgent matter of public safety,” the researchers say. “Insufficient removal of human Adenovirus in municipal wastewater, for example, has been detected as a contaminant in U.S. drinking water sources, including the Great Lakes and worldwide.”

Researchers from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev (BGU) and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC) have developed novel ultrafiltration membranes that significantly improve the virus-removal process from treated municipal wastewater used for drinking in water-scarce cities (Water Research, “Improvement of virus removal using ultrafiltration membranes modified with grafted zwitterionic polymer hydrogels”).

The norovirus, which can cause nausea, vomiting and diarrhea, is the most common cause of viral gastroenteritis in humans, and is estimated to be the second leading cause of gastroenteritis-associated mortality. Human adenoviruses can cause a wide range of illnesses that include the common cold, sore throat (pharyngitis), bronchitis, pneumonia, diarrhea, pink eye (conjunctivitis), fever, bladder inflammation or infection (cystitis), inflammation of the stomach and intestines (gastroenteritis), and neurological disease.

 

In the study, Prof. Moshe Herzberg of the Department of Desalination and Water Treatment in the Zuckerberg Institute for Water Research at BGU and his group grafted a special hydrogel coating onto a commercial ultrafiltration membrane. The “zwitterionic polymer hydrogel” repels the viruses from approaching and passing through the membrane. It contains both positive and negative charges and improves efficiency by weakening virus accumulation on the modified filter surface. The result was a significantly higher rate of removal of waterborne viruses, including human norovirus and adenovirus.Nanofiltration II Membrane-Layers-01

 

“Utilizing a simple graft-polymerization of commercialized membranes to make virus removal more comprehensive is a promising development for controlling filtration of pathogens in potable water reuse,” says Prof. Nguyen, Department of Chemical Engineering, UIUC.
Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev

 

Researchers use nanomaterial to develop a renewable alternative for crude oil


3D rendered Molecule (Abstract) with Clipping Path(Nanowerk News) Ben-Gurion University of the Negev  (BGU) researchers have developed an innovative process to convert carbon dioxide  and hydrogen into a renewable alternative for crude oil, which could transform  fuels used in gas and diesel-powered vehicles and jets.
The “green feed” crude oil can be refined into renewable liquid  fuels using established technologies and can be transported using existing  infrastructure to gas stations.  The highly efficient advance is made possible  in part using nanomaterials that significantly reduce the amount of energy  required in the catalytic process to make the crude oil.
“We can now use zero cost resources, carbon dioxide, water,  energy from the sun, and combine them to get real fuels,” said BGU’s Prof. Moti  Hershkowitz, presenting the new renewable fuel process at the Bloomberg Fuel  Choices Summit in Tel Aviv on November 13.  Carbon dioxide and hydrogen are two  of the most common elements available on earth.
“Ethanol (alcohol), biodiesel and/or blends of these fuels with  conventional fuels are far from ideal,” Hershkowitz explains. “There is a  pressing need for a game-changing approach to produce alternative, drop-in,  liquid transportation fuels by sustainable, technologically viable and  environmentally acceptable emissions processes from abundant, low-cost,  renewable materials.”
“BGU has filed the patents and we are ready to demonstrate and  commercialize it,” Hershkowitz says.  “Since there are no foreseen technological  barriers, the new process could become a reality within five to10 years,” he  adds.
The BGU crude oil process produces hydrogen from water, which is  mixed with carbon dioxide captured from external sources and synthetic gas  (syngas). This green feed mixture is placed into a reactor that contains a  nano-structured solid catalyst, also developed at BGU, to produce an organic  liquid and gas.
Prof. Moti Herskowitz is the Israel Cohen Chair in Chemical  Engineering and the vice president and dean of research and development at BGU.   He led the team that also includes Prof. Miron Landau, Dr. Roxana Vidruk and  others at BGU’s Blechner Center for Industrial Catalysis and Process  Development.
The Blechner Center, founded in 1995, has the infrastructure and  expertise required to deal with a wide variety of challenging topics related to  basic and applied aspects of catalysis and catalytic processes. This was  accomplished with major funding from various sources that include science  foundations, industrial partners and individual donors such as the lateNorbert  Blechner. Researchers at the Blechner Center have also developed a novel process  for converting vegetable and algae oils to advanced green diesel and jet fuels,  as well as a novel process for producing zero-sulfur diesel.
“Ben-Gurion University’s Blechner Center has been at the  forefront of alternative fuel research and development, working with major  American oil and automotive companies for more than 20 years,” says Doron  Krakow, executive vice president, American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of  the Negev.  “We applaud these new developments and BGU’s focus on giving the  world new technologies for more efficient, renewable fuel alternatives.”
Source: American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the  Negev

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