GCU research may lead to cleaner drinking water in millions of homes

11 December 2012

GCU research may lead to cleaner drinking water in millions of homes

The research team at the pilot plant

A GCU research project which could result in cleaner drinking water in millions of homes across Europe is about to begin a pilot study at a water treatment plant in Germany.

GCU’s Professor JiaQian Jiang has been funded by two German water companies, LW Water Supply and Lake Constance Water Supply, to develop a new method of treating drinking water which leaves fewer pollutants than the current industry wide approach.

Professor Jiang’s research investigates the possibilities of using ferrate (VI), a super charged iron molecule, to remove micro pollutants from drinking water. The study will pay particular attention to the potentially harmful by-products created when ferrate is used to remove pollutants.

It is thought that the ferrate produces fewer potentially toxic by-products then the current process, which uses ozonation to degrade harmful micro-pollutants and chlorination to kill germs.

Professor Jiang and his team are preparing to upgrade their work following a successful laboratory trial conducted at Langenau Water Treatment Plant in Germany.

The new phase of the study at the Lake Constance Water Treatment plant, also in Germany, will discover if the treatment techniques developed in the lab work on a larger scale and if they are as cost effective as current processes.

If so, Professor Jiang’s work could have a huge impact on the way drinking water is treated. Professor Jiang said: “Our initial laboratory studies have shown that the process produces an excellent performance. This is why the German companies have decided to offer additional funding for the pilot-scale trials of our research. We predict that the next stage of the study will confirm this advanced technology’s potential to have a great impact on achieving  both high water quality and cost effectiveness.” 

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