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Zeno Karl Schindler Award 2015 – Endre Horváth
© 2015 EPFL
03.10.15 – Swoxid: Next generation filters for air -and water purifiers
Project director: Prof. L. Forró
“For the development of a simple and efficient filtering system for water and air purification based on novel nanostructures.”
Humans, on average, spend 85% of their lives indoors. However, indoor air is often contaminated with volatile organic compounds, offensive odors, viruses, bacteria, mold or other hazardous materials that adversely affect the human health. In parallel, an estimated 884 million people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people lack of basic sanitation.
In order to address these issues, Dr. Horváth and his colleagues at EPFL developed a through-flow Photocatalytic-Solar-Thermal water- and air purifier prototype that unlike conventional water and air purification methods requires neither electricity nor dosage of disinfecting chemical compounds to render contaminated water and air safe.
The patented technology invented by Dr. Horváth is based on an innovative nanoporous aerogel composite material which – upon solar irradiation – is able to remove and inactivate infectious disease-causing biological agents such as bacteria, viruses, protozoa and worms. The sun-irradiated composite filter medium releases particles which are destructive to organic matter. As the microorganisms are exposed to thermal and degradation effects in the whole filter, the unwanted “breeding ground” problem of many ordinary filters is also avoided.
The potential applications of this economical and environmentally friendly technology are related to public health and disease prevention; next generation indoor air-conditioning in buildings and vehicles and sustainable drinking water and waste water management.