Alternative Filter For A Sustainable Future

By Nikolas Krusekopf
Intermediate Category (Grades 9-10)
Innovation | Energy and Natural Resources, Environment

The goal of my project was to develop an environmentally sustainable water filter that could effectively filter out bacteria. Water filters are needed to help people in developing countries, on First Nation reserves and backcountry hikers. After reviewing an experiment conducted by scientists at MIT, I explored ways to create an effective water filter using wood. In my experiment, I inserted a 1 cm long wooden cylinder with a one cm diameter and in a clear PVC tube and secured it with a hose clamp to eliminate leaks. I created a solution of distilled water and different amounts of probiotics or zinc oxide nanoparticles, which are similar to bacteria, and poured the solution into the tubing and let gravity pull the water through the wood. I did this process five different times with multiple samples for each different tests from November to March.

I found that a wood filter could effectively filter out the bacteria once I perfected my testing method. In my last run of testing, which was the most successful of my tests. My samples had an average of 99.96% of the bacteria removed from the water. I also discovered that balsam fir is the best type of wood to remove bacteria from water. At first, I thought that pine wood was the best wood to use, however, my tests found that the pinewood as well as the maple wood, which I tried introduced sap into the water. These findings are important because a wood filter may be useful for developing countries, First Nations reserves or backcountry hikers. In future experiments, I am planning to examine whether wood filters can be used to remove other types of contaminants such as hormones and antibiotics. The process for doing this uses activated carbon filters at the moment, so I would have to incorporate that into the filter. In conclusion I created a wood filter that can effectively filter bacteria from water.

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