Researchers at the University of West England have begun testing a portable water purification system they developed and that they claim could bring clean drinking water to one billion people in areas of the world without reliable access to a safe supply.
Three months of trials in Bristol will precede deployment in India next year for further testing then use by communities.
The researchers have reported that initial tests have shown the ultra-filtration and disinfection system capable of transforming dirty water drawn from a pond into clean water meeting UK drinking water standards at 500 litres an hour.
The 1.5m by 1.5m unit – dubbed The Ninja –removes bacteria and viruses, as well as other contaminants including nitrates, ammonia and metals. It can, the researchers said, be developed to run on solar power.
The three-year, £700,000 project is a collaboration with Professor Tapan Dutta from the Bose Institute in Kolkata. It forms part of the India-UK Water Quality Programme, which aims to help policymakers, regulators, business and local communities to secure clean water, rejuvenate rivers and restore ecosystems.
Lead scientist on the project, Professor Darren Reynolds, said: “The Ninja is an industrial-scale piece of equipment which can be easily transported overseas and used to help whole communities by producing clean, safe drinking water from dirty or contaminated sources at the touch of a button. Globally, at least two billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces resulting in millions of deaths, mostly in children.”