Dow Water & Process Solutions (DW&PS), a subsidiary of the Dow Chemical Company, has signed a collaboration agreement with Finnish company Ahlstrom that would allow it to use the Ahlstrom Disruptor technology for drinking water applications, the company has announced.

The partnership will combine the market, research & development and manufacturing expertise of DW&PS with Ahlstrom's innovative nonwoven fibre technology that can help in finding practical solutions to the global demand for drinking water. The Ahlstrom Disruptor technology features a combination of large pore size and very high electrical attraction potential, thus allowing the successful removal of microscopic particles such as viruses from drinking water at a high flow rate and very low pressure.

Quoting figures from United Nations research, DW&PS stated that almost one in seven people on the planet, or about 1 billion people, have no access to clean water and this number is set to grow in line with the increasing global population. It is estimated that over the next four decades the world's population is likely to increase by a further 3 billion people, which will aggravate the clean water supply problem even further. In order to keep up with this rising population, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development has calculated that demand for water will increase by 30 percent by 2030, while energy and food demand will rise by 40 percent and 50 percent respectively.

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Snehal Desai, global business director for DW&PS, commented that these trends are putting additional pressure on the existing water sources and the need for new solutions that can grant better access to safe drinking water in an easy and sustainable way is growing. According to Fulvio Capussotti, executive vice president of advanced filtration at Ahlstrom, the company aims to develop products that can deliver clean air and water and its collaboration with Dow offers a "wealth of opportunities" for designing innovative water solutions that can meet the rising demand in a sustainable way.

The collaboration will see DW&PS incorporating Ahlstrom's filter medium into a new series of drinking water purification products that ensure excellent pathogen rejection and can operate at high flow and low pressure. Integrating the approaches of both companies will result in improved health and safety, as 99.9999 percent of all bacteria, 99.99 percent of all viruses and 99.9 percent of all cysts in a water stream can be removed, Dow said. The technology is entirely sustainable and suitable for regions with no electricity. It requires zero chemicals and does not generate any wastewater.

Desai added that the collaboration would result in a product that can be used in a number of drinking water applications, such as under-the-sink purification, post filtration for reverse osmosis, a counter top or pitcher unit or a unit internal to a refrigerator.