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August 5, 2016

Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment center (Image 2)

The Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment center, a National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center, was established to develop compact, mobile, off-grid water-treatment systems that can provide clean water to millions of people who lack it, and make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective.

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The Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) center is an NSF Engineering Research Center funded by a five-year, $18.5 million NSF award. NEWT was founded to transform the economics of water treatment by using nanotechnology to develop compact, mobile, off-grid systems to provide clean water to millions of people around the world. A second goal is to make U.S. energy production more sustainable and cost-effective in regards to its water use.

The center is a consortium based at Rice University and led by environmental engineer Pedro Alvarez. Alvarez says treated water is too often unavailable in parts of the world that cannot afford large treatment plants or miles of pipes to deliver it. Moreover, large-scale treatment and distribution uses a great deal of energy. "About 25 percent of the energy bill for a typical city is associated with the cost of moving water," he says.

The consortium has set as its first goal the development of modular water treatment systems that can deploy almost anywhere in the world.

To learn more, see the NSF Discovery story Nanoscale solutions to a very large problem. (Date image taken: 2015; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Aug. 5, 2016) [Image 2 of 4 related images. See Image 3.]

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Credit: Photographer: Jessica Hochreiter/Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at Arizona


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