A $1.92 million Department of Defense grant has led to a more portable wastewater treatment system that could dramatically improve the efficiency and lower the cost to produce drinking water. The integrated system, which brings together solar, bio and nano technologies, is made from three main components.
A solar unit made from novel materials and configuration will be 80 percent lighter than traditional solar units.
A biological conversion processes breaks down wastewater and food scraps to produce methane that can be used as fuel.
A nano-filtration system then takes the discharge from the biological processes to provide drinking water.
The solar-bio-nano project is spearheaded by Wei Liao, a Michigan State University assistant professor of biosystems and agricultural engineering. If the team's project proves effective in military settings, it has great potential in a wide range of wastewater treatment systems, from agricultural operations to municipal wastewater treatment plants, Liao said.