Water security has always been high on the list of human sustainable development goals, because we rely on clean water for drinking, washing, and recreational purposes. However, widespread contamination continues to severely threaten the security of water supplies. Among these contaminants, water pathogens are of particularly great concern as they have been directly linked to outbreaks of potentially deadly waterborne diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
Since most current technologies have serious limitations – for example, chlorination produces halogenated carcinogens and ozonation is costly and dangerous to operate – researchers in the PROTECT center aim to develop scalable, safe, and low-cost water treatment technologies. Recently, researchers used activated carbon, one of the cheapest functional carbons, to perform water disinfections.