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Last updateThu, 26 Nov 2020 5pm

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Rice husk transformed into a filter to remove contaminants in the water

Scientists from the Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of Seville, in collaboration with the Technische Universität Berlin, have used rice husk, a waste product from rice cultivation abundantly produced in Spain, as a filter for the removal of organic contaminants in water treatment plants. The process generates more efficient filters than the commercial activated carbons used nowadays.

Rice husk is a waste product from rice cultivation abundantly produced in Spain.Filtration is one important step in the process of water treatment plants, where active carbon is usually used. Most of these filters are produced from mineral coal or carbonising remains of tropical biomass. The synthesis process for obtaining them has an impact on the environment, since chemical agents are used and it requires a transport of thousands of kilometres.

“The rice husk makes the process totally sustainable by using a local agricultural waste with no commercial value,” explains Tomás Undabeytia López, researcher at IRNAS-CSIC.

The developed material has a special impact on emerging pollutants, such as pesticides and drugs, which can be harmful to health and the environment, even in low concentrations. CSIC scientists add that it could be applied for home water filters as well.

“Filters with our material removed up to 100% of the emerging contaminants we tested during filtration process with a higher water volume and during longer time than filters with commercial activated carbons”, adds José María de la Rosa, at IRNAS-CSIC.

Scientific team involved in the project, from left to right: Tomás Undabeytia, José María de la Rosa, Ana Miller, Águeda Sánchez Martín and María Hidalgo.

Contact

José Ramón Domínguez Solís
Vicepresidencia Adjunta de Transferencia del Conocimiento
Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas (CSIC)
Tel.: 954232349 ext. 540030
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