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Demonstration of Carbon based Multi-functional and Affordable Water Filters: a Sustainable and Compact Drinking Water Facilities for Rural India

IWRA World Water Congress 2017 - Cancun Mexico
2. Water quality, wastewater and reuse
Author(s): Shivaraju Harikaranahalli Puttaiah
Shivaraju Harikaranahalli Puttaiah

Keyword(s): Activated Carbon; Ceramic Matrix; Affordable; Drinking Water Filter; Rural India; Natural Clay.


Water contamination and water borne health risks have become crucial socio-economic issues in rural India. Due to over population and severe contamination of fresh water resources by toxic chemicals and pathogens, water related disease outbreaks are at their worst in the rural regions of India. Unfortunately, the existing household drinking water purification systems have many drawbacks such as high system cost, poor regeneration, energy consumption, complicated processes, treatment specificity, unfeasibility, ineffectiveness, etc., to ease implementation in the rural and remote areas. In the present study, activated carbon (AC) based potential, affordable and compact filters were prepared using low-cost, abundant and indigenous raw materials and active ingredients for potential treatment of the drinking water. The filters were designed in such a way that I should perform the multi-functionalities such as sorption, catalysis, disinfection and ion-exchange within the filter matrix for the sustainable and ease purification of drinking water. Locally synthesized AC using rice husk, coconut shells, etc., and the naturally available clay minerals were used as important raw-materials with active ingredients such as Ag, Cu, Ti, Fe, etc., to enhance the treatment potential. Natural clay collected from the local reservoirs was preprocessed and chemical compositions were analyzed. The results obtained showed that SiO2 and Al2O3 were dominated species, which act as potential adsorbents for removal of organic pollutants and other minor components such as Ca, Na, Mg, etc. The results also revealed that presence of about 10-12 wt of carbon contents and absence of any toxic elements in the natural clay. A known weight of clay, AC core ingredients and active agents with homogeneous mixed sequence were molded into different shapes such as disc, candle, & foam layer and converted into ceramic structures under high temperature (>1000°C). The produced filter materials were characterized by suitable analytical techniques to know the obtained properties, which influence water purification. The characterization results clearly showed that well crystallinity, structural elucidation and extensive morphology, higher porosity and surface area, higher stability, and durability in the filter materials, which apparently enhance the purification efficiency. The drinking water purification efficiency of carbon based filters was evaluated under the gravity using well designed filter setups. Partially contaminated water (D grade) was used and important water quality parameters, which effect on human health were considered for the study. The results obtained  clearly indicated that carbon embedded ceramic filters achieved the required drinking water quality standards, which are fixed by the Bureau of Indian standards (BIS) within a short duration. Considerable purification efficiency by carbon filters could be attributed due to adsorption and partial ion-exchange nature of core ingredients, redox and disinfection processes of embedded active agents, which resulted in effective removal of pathogens and other pollutants in the water. Factors, which affect on the drinking water purification efficiency, such as mixing ration of filter materials, contact time, regenerability, gravity, additional pressure, etc., were studied and optimized for the real-time applications. The multi-functional properties, along with affordable sequences and feasibility for practical applications have made these carbon filters  sustainable and an excellent compact drinking water facility for rural India.  


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