Affordable and Clean Drinking Water at Every Home through Nanomaterials
Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai 600 036 India.
Realizing the molecular nature of contaminants in drinking water and the need to remove them at
ultra trace levels, significant progress has been made in the recent past to utilize nanomaterials
for water purification. My presentation summarizes our recent efforts in understanding the
chemistry of nanoscale materials for the purification of drinking water. The application of
metal/metal oxide nanoparticles-based chemistry for drinking water purification can be
summarized for three major types of contaminants: halogenated organics including pesticides,
heavy metals, arsenic and microorganisms. We were the first to introduce a nanomaterials-based
purifier for drinking water to tackle pesticide contamination. Recent efforts for the removal, as
well as ultralow concentration detection of such species, using a variety of nanostructures will be
summarized. There are several materials emerging in the recent past and their chemistry may
also be utilized for this application. We have now developed an all-inclusive affordable water
purifier addressing all the common contaminants. In reference to drinking water contamination
in West Bengal, a product for arsenic free water can be provided at homes at a cost of 3 paise per
litre of clean water. Variations of this solution may be applied in other parts of the world. Some
of these purifiers are undergoing field trials now.
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