NASA's Resolve to Clean Water
"More than a billion people around the world lack easy access to clean water—some trek for miles just to fill jugs for themselves and their families." ...it is often contaminated with viruses or bacteria that can cause deadly diseases, especially in vulnerable young children."
"In developed countries, too, water sources are occasionally contaminated or cut off altogether following natural disasters, resource mismanagement, or an intentional attack."
In all cases is filtration! But not all filters are created equal: many of the inexpensive ones can siphon out dirt and low-level contaminants, but they can’t do anything for many of the more dangerous infiltrators, especially viruses. Many bacteria and single-celled organisms also pass through filters, and the filter itself can even become infected with these microbes, passing them on to previously uninfected water.
Our systems combine multiple filters in a series. A first-level strainer filters out dirt and large particles, "like a sock filter." Then, as the water is pulled through the pump, it goes through a coconut-carbon filter to eliminate many other contaminants. Next, it reaches the most expensive—and most sensitive—filter: the nanoceramic filter, which eliminates everything left, including viruses. And after the three-stage filtration process is completed, the water goes through an ultraviolet chamber for added protection.
In areas where water contamination is especially high, our systems can add up to two additional stages of filtration. They remove lead, chlorine, E. Coli, coliform bacteria, viruses, algae, pharmaceuticals, foul tastes and odors, and many other contaminants.
The multiple stages act as a fail-safe, if any of the filters fails. They also protect the NanoCeram filter, so it doesn’t get clogged with dirt or other larger-scale contaminants.
What we’re trying to do is make that NanoCeram filter last longer, because we’re working with groups in the field that are going to rely on that to remove viruses. And if we can make that filter last four or five times longer, for humanitarian groups that’s a huge plus, because they don’t have to replace that filter nearly as often.