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Water Disinfection Technology:Nanowire-Modified Three-Dimensional Electrode Enabling Low-Voltage Electroporation

SOE, Tsinghua November 1st, 2016 Research Group of Professor Hu Hongying Made Significant Progress in the Field of Water Treatment Disinfection Technology
More than 10% of people in the world still suffer from inadequate access to clean water. Traditional water disinfection methods (e.g., chlorination and ultraviolet radiation) include concerns about the formation of carcinogenic disinfection byproducts (DBPs), pathogen reactivation, and/or excessive energy consumption, which cannot meet the demand of safe water supply in poverty-stricken areas. Recently, a nanowire-assisted electroporation disinfection method was introduced as an alternative by the research group led by Professor Hu Hongying from the School of Environment at Tsinghua University. By taking advantage of the spatial scale effect of nanowire, they use the strong electric field, which is generated near to the points of nanowire under relatively low external voltage, for electroporation disinfection. Relevant research result entitled Nanowire-Modified Three-Dimensional Electrode Enabling Low-Voltage Electroporation for Water Disinfection is published in the periodical of Environmental Science & Technology in June 2016.

The research is based on a new type of nanowire-assisted electroporation disinfection technology, and by taking advantage of spatial scale effect of nanowire, uses the strong electric field, which is generated near to the points of nanowire under relatively low external voltage, for electroporation?disinfection. Researchers equipped the nanowire on three-dimensional electrode to increase the contact probability between bacteria and the strong electric filed near to the points of nanowire, to further improve the disinfection efficiency. Ultimately, this technology realized an entire and complete disinfection in water when the external voltage is 1V and contact time is 7s. This disinfection process has no by-product and there is no pathogen reactivation after the disinfection. This technology has effectively given solutions in providing reliable and safe water disinfection for residents in remote areas or poverty-stricken areas.

The journal Environmental Science & Technology is a top-level periodical with prime influence in the international field of environment science. The corresponding authors of this article are Professor Hu Hongying from the School of Environment in Tsinghua University and Dr. Xie Xing from the Department of Environment Science and Engineering at California Institute of Technology. The first author is Huo Zhengyang, a doctoral student from the School of Environment at Tsinghua University. Co-authors include Associate Professor Lu Yun and doctoral student Yu Tong from School of Environment in Tsinghua University, and doctoral student Feng Chao from Advanced Research Institute at Tsinghua University etc.