Researchers at Purdue have developed a technology that uses sunshine to clean water, by harnessing UV radiation to kill microorganisms. The project was led by Chip Blatchley, a professor of environmental and ecological engineering, and Bruce Applegate, an associate professor of food science and biological science.
An article published by the university's Office of Technology Commercialization says they've applied for a patient. The disinfection system is designed for areas where clean water is difficult to access:
"If you take a global view of people who have little or no access to safe water, you'll see that most live close to the equator," Blatchley said. "Bruce, student researchers and I have created prototypes that disinfect water by amplifying and concentrating solar UV radiation, which is abundant in equatorial and near-equatorial nations."
Applegate said the Purdue water disinfection system pumps water through a UV-transparent pipe placed on a parabolic reflector.
Tests in West Lafayette, Ind. have been conducted with non-pathogenic microbes. The team hopes to continue field testing the system for disease-causing bacteria in areas where higher levels of UV exposure exist. Similar water purifiers have harnessed UV rays in the past, but the Purdue team aims to make their design a lower-cost solution.