This German company, Wasser 3.0, is fighting the plastic problem by making whirlpools to clean microplastics out of water.
Source: Wasser 3.0 gGmbH/YouTube
The company uses a whirlpool and a hybrid silica gel to create a vortex in a tank of water. A compound that they call Wasser 3.0 PE-X is added to the whirlpool, which acts as a clumping agent and lumps microplastics into small balls so they can easily be taken out of the water. The lumps rise to the surface and are taken out with a sieve.
During a 12-month trial at a treatment plant in Landau-Mörlheim, Germany, the company was able to remove around 600 pounds of microplastics.
The hybrid silica gel is made of silicone-based chemicals called organosilanes and is not toxic, according to the inventor and founder of the company, Dr. Katrin Schuhen. She says that the process can be used in freshwater and seawater, and even wastewater. The organosilanes attach to the surface of the microplastics and clump together quickly, making a tennis-sized ball cluster in less than five minutes.
The German company wants its technology to be used as a new step in sewage treatment plants. Unfortunately, most microplastics from toothpaste, clothes, and other products are not filtered out with the current technology. This means that they are released into our waterways.
Wasser 3.0 is affordable and could be a great simple solution to the global plastic problem. The company is also not for profit, and they reinvest any proceeds back into research and development.
“Our mission is to keep the world’s water supply safe,” says Schuhen.
Microplastics have been found everywhere, from Mount Everest to the depths of the oceans, and it’s even been found in the placentas of pregnant women. It’s more important now than ever to move away from single-use plastic. Not only is it horrible for the environment, but now studies like this are revealing how devastating they can be for human cells. Through food, the air, and other ways, we are constantly consuming tiny plastic particles.
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