24Water: on the way to drinking water without drug residues

Cooperation UT, spin-offs and water company

In association with the spin-off companies NX Filtration and Artecs, University of Twente will develop new polymers for nanofiltering substances such as drug residues and pesticides from drinking water. From the UT the group Materials Science and Technology of Polymers (MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology) is involved in the new project 24Water, as well as water company Oasen.

Although the drinking water in Western Europe is excellent, the quality is under pressure because of contamination with drug residues, pesticides and endocrine disruptors. Existing techniques to remove these micro- and nanoparticles from the water are expensive and energy consuming. Membranes with an ultra-thin, ‘selective’ polymer layer do not have these disadvantages: the water passes through this layer, but the harmful substances do not. A ‘proof of concept’ already exists, on a laboratory scale: in the group Membrane Science and Technology prof. Kitty Nijmeijer already successfully developed nano-filtration membranes.

Upscaling
The new UT spin-off NX Filtration will enable the step from the lab to industrial production and large-scale application. To achieve this, the company works closely with the group Materials Science and Technology of Polymers of prof. Julius Vancso and the spin-off Artecs, that has extensive experience in the processing of polymers and customizing those polymers for the desired application. The end user is also involved in 24Water: drinking water supplier Oasen in South Holland. Thanks to partners in the whole chain, the improvement of drinking water quality can get a major boost.

One million euro
The project 24Water will receive one million euro from the EU, the central government and the provinces of Gelderland and Overijssel, through the European Regional Development Fund (EFRO). A total of thirteen project proposals have been accepted, in three of them University of Twente is a partner. For 24Water NX Filtration is the main applicant.