4 Advances In Water Filtration Technology

by Carter Toni

When discussing water treatment, the ones that come to mind are those at home or trying to survive in the wild. But it’s a process that’s been going on for years.

Water filtration technology continues to provide fresh water and evolve to the latest methods the world can imagine. This article discusses the newest water filtering methods that provide refreshing water to the masses.

1. Reverse Osmosis (RO)

Reverse osmosis is a treatment process that uses a semipermeable membrane and has seen changes for the past 50 years. In RO, the water pressure is increased and forced through the membrane to remove the contaminants.

This process separates the water molecules from the impurities, leaving clean drinking water. Many consider RO one of the most effective methods of removing pollutants from water, and why RO filters are growing in popularity.

Residential-grade RO filters can remove 99% of asbestos, lead, and other contaminants. It has other benefits, such as reduced sodium, removing unpleasant tastes and odors, and minimizing harmful dissolved contaminants.

Unlike other filters that trap impurities, reverse osmosis removes the water mixed with the pollutants. The system divides the water into two streams: one carries it into a faucet and the other to the drain with the contaminants and salts.

2. Nanotechnology

A carbon nanotube is a form of nanotech that allows water molecules to sift through the pores of the tube as they draw microbes to the surface. Carbon nanotubes are formed into spirals or sheets that attract the water to pass through the honeycomb-like material to eliminate contaminants. It prevents both biological and chemical dangers from mixing into the water stream.

Here are two leading systems in nanotechnology filtration:

  • Nanocellulose

Nanocellulose is a derivative of disintegrated polymers or bacterial action. In a way, it’s similar to carbon nanotubes, but the manufacturing process is different. Nanocellulose has nanofibrils and nanocrystals. The latter are rod-like nanoparticle structures that adsorb contaminants in the water. The flexibility of nanocellulose makes it an excellent water filter that works in compact and large filtration systems.

  • Golden Nanoparticles

Golden nanoparticles are nanorods that can conduct localized heat and eliminate pollutants such as anti-pesticides and chemicals. These nanorod particles increase their effectivity when applied with silica coating in specific areas to prevent them from clumping. It then results in even distribution.

3. Acoustic Nanotube Technology

The International Space Station needed water onboard, so NASA invented this water filtration system to recycle wastewater. It can also be used on earth where ultra-pure water is required.

Unlike other methods that move water through filters, it uses acoustics to drive the water through membranes fitted with tiny carbon nanotubes where water passes through filters. A filter attached to an oscillator circuit creates these acoustic vibrations, separating the water molecules that pass through the filter. The filters are made of metal alloys, ceramics, or polymers.

The system was designed to work with gravity since NASA initially developed this system in an environment without weight. Acoustic nanotube technology is efficient because it requires less power, which makes it suitable for remote environments.

The system can use solar power to support its operation since it consumes less energy. It’s also a scalable method that users can use with a single filter or a collection of integrated filters.

4. Photocatalytic Water Purification

Developing countries and rural areas are receiving attention as the recipient of water purification processes based on photocatalysis. It’s due to underground water sources contaminated with various toxic contaminants such as arsenic or agrochemicals. They emerge as mining runoffs and also naturally occurring.

Photocatalysis can break down various organic materials, pesticides, crude oil, dyes, and chlorine-resistant pathogens. The process is suitable for water and wastewater treatment facilities. It also treats wastewater from industrial areas contaminated with metals and organic substances.

These are only a few of today’s advances in water filtration. Water is treatable with methods that use existing technologies and those developed for exceptional cases such as NASA space missions. It wouldn’t be surprising if the world discovered new ways to treat water, primarily due to emerging technologies.


Reverse osmosis, nanotechnology, acoustic technology, and photocatalytic purification are four advances leading water filtration technology today. These methods use a combination of membranes or acoustics to treat water and wastewater, ranging from household to industrial uses.

RO systems are common for at-home use, and agencies such as NASA developed a water filtration technique for use in outer space. Methods differ as they’re designed for different needs. But all are efficient and proven to provide clean and safe water for everyday uses.

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