Waterweave want to increase access to clean water by using smart textiles. Thanks to the verification funding from Chalmers Innovation Office, the project team chose to invest in cleaning rainwater. Since there are many potential application areas, we were able to focus on an application with great potential, says Maria Knutsson who runs Waterweave together with Sandra Melin in close collaboration with the Textilhögskolan in Borås.
The water purification system is based on research by researcher Nils Krister Persson and Patrik Lennartsson at Högskolan i Borås. The fabric with a coating of fungus, is immersed in water and purifies the water from heavy metals by an uptake of ions. The biomass is full of functional groups that can absorb heavy metal ions. Tests in the lab shows that the fabric absorbs copper ions and the goal is to have a prototype ready to make full-scale tests in 2015.
From the beginning, Nils Krister Persson actually had two ideas on how to purify water. One was about using a titanium coated fabric to purify water from microorganisms and the other idea was the use of biomass to purify water from heavy metals.
In the spring of 2014, Nils Krister Persson received verification funding to investigate which of these ideas was worth pursuing. It turned out that the method of using biomass to purify water from heavy metals had the greatest potential.
As a scientist, you don’t have the time or the expertise to understand in detail the needs and requirements of potential users for your ideas. This process allowed me to gain an understanding of what Vattenverket in Alingsås really needed, says Nils Krister.