| Green Design & Manufacturing | Mechanical & Fluid Systems

2017 Create the Future Design Contest: Sustainable Technologies Category Winner

Energy Saving Filter for Removal of Heavy Metals from Water

Volodymyr Khranovskyy, R. Yakimova, Ivan Shtepliuk, P. Lima de Carvalho, and A. Pinto
Talent Molecule LDA
Braga, Portugal

Pollution by heavy metals (HMs) is a crucial environmental issue. With the modern growth of chemical, mining, energy, tanning, and dye industries, residual HMs — such as Hg, Pb, Cd, Cr and others — are discharged into the ambient air. These toxic contaminants end up in potable water. Since they are invisible and tasteless to humans, they bio-accumulate in organisms, causing chronic diseases and death around the world.

“The entire team is delighted to be the Sustainable Technologies category winner. Our design is on a scale that is invisible to the human eye, but it's critical for performance. With our product, materials science meets design on the nanoscale for environmental solutions — saving human lives with nanomaterial design.”

Researchers at Linkoping University (Sweden) developed a novel nanomaterial that attracts heavy metal ions in aqueous solutions. The material is called functionalized graphene oxide (FGO, patent pending). Originating from carbon, it is only one atomic layer thin, and therefore has the highest possible surface area, which makes it an ideal absorbent. A unique approach was developed for the nanomaterial processing, and a filtering unit with efficiency of more than 95% for HM removal was designed.

Unlike traditional water-cleaning technologies, this filtering unit is optimized for low-cost, zero energy consumption, with no water waste and high flow rate. The product is a dynamic flow filter with a capacity for 10,000 liters of average contaminated water (50 mcg/L). The filtering system can be adapted for highly contaminated water high water flows, or both.

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HONORABLE MENTIONS

Pollution-Free Paper (Self-Erasing Ink Enables Reuse)

Carl Yee,
Blue Planet Ink,
San Diego, CA

Paper-SaverTM ink is a disappearing ink for inkjet printers. The water-based ink erases itself after three weeks as it absorbs carbon dioxide from the air, allowing the paper to be reused. All the sheets in a stack of paper self-erase; the top sheet in a stack of paper erases fastest because it has the most airflow.The ink is sold as third-party replacement ink cartridges.

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ecoSPEARS: A Non-invasive Solution to PCB Pollution in Contaminated Waterways

Samuel Johnson, Sergie Albino, and Ian Doromal,
ecoSPEARS,
Winter Springs, FL

ecoSPEARS is a technology conceptualized by NASA to bring a sus- tainable, long-term solution to poly- chlorinated biphenyl (PCB) remedia- tion in worldwide water supplies. The SPEARS are 3D-printed using polymer plastic. The hollow interior of the SPEARS is then lined with resin to reinforce its structural integrity, and is filled with ethanol. This allows for the polymer molecules to widen when placed within marine sediment, drawing the hydrophobic PCB molecules into the polymer, and ensnaring them within the ethanol.

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MicroEVAPTM Water Purification System

Karen Sorber,
Micronic Technologies,
Wise, VA

The MicroEVAP water purification system processes polluted water from any source with a low-pressure, low-temperature, tornado-induced, rapid-evaporation technology. It requires no chemical pre-treatment or membranes, is self-contained, and requires no onsite waste heat supply. The current system design can purify a range of contaminated water types at an estimated throughput of 1,500 gallons per day. It has been demonstrated to remove 95% of the contaminants at 95% throughput efficiency.

For more information, visit here.


SPIRP – Solar Powered Irrigation Resonance Pump

Sue Becconsall and Alec Becconsall,
Longcroft Engineering;
John Allport, Simon Malins, and Goodarz Khodabakhsi,
University of Huddersfield,
West Yorkshire, UK

The MicroEVAP water purification system processes polluted water from any source with a low-pressure, low-temperature, tornado-induced, rapid-evaporation technology. It requires no chemical pre-treatment or membranes, is self-contained, and requires no onsite waste heat supply. The current system design can purify a range of contaminated water types at an estimated throughput of 1,500 gallons per day. It has been demonstrated to remove 95% of the contaminants at 95% throughput efficiency.

For more information, contact Sue Becconsall at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.