Processing Magazine

Nanotechnology has potential to enhance water disinfection, 2012 NWRI Clarke Prize winner says

November 13, 2012

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. — Nanotechnology could be used to develop next-generation applications for drinking water disinfection and safe wastewater reuse, according to 2012 National Water Research Institute (NWRI) NWRI Athalie Richardson Irvine Clarke Prize recipient Pedro J.J. Alvarez.

In his lecture during the Nineteenth Annual NWRI Clarke Prize Award Ceremony on Nov. 2, Alvarez, a professor of engineering at Rice University, discussed the potential of nanotechnology to enhance water disinfection.

According to Alvarez, one area of water treatment that has significant potential to be improved by nanotechnology is microbial control.

RELATED: International leader in water pollution control to receive 2012 Clarke Prize

Traditional treatment technologies like chlorination and ozonation produce disinfection byproducts that could potentially harm public health and the environment and/or need further treatment to remove. These solutions are also limited in their abilities to address problems faced by aging water infrastructure, such as biofouling, which impairs the taste and odor of water, corrodes pipes and contributes to energy loss during water flow and membrane filtration.

“These challenges underscore the need for new technologies and water management approaches that provide practical solutions for clean water,” said Alvarez. “The importance of enhancing water disinfection and microbial control cannot be overstated.”