A type of charcoal made from eucalyptus trees could provide the solution to South Africa's polluted water.
A University of Stellenbosch academic is developing a low-cost, low-tech water purification system with the charcoal, which will remove organic compounds from waste water in urban areas, the DST-NRF Centre of Excellence in Food Security said on Monday.
The charcoal, called biochar, could remove organic, some inorganic, and microbiological contaminants from water.
Professor Gunnar Sigge and collaborators at the Universities of Venda and Pretoria developed the purification system.
Sigge and colleagues tested different types of biochar made of pine and eucalyptus to maximize the amount of pollutants removed from the water. Of the two tree species tested, eucalyptus provided the best biochar.
"This filtration method could benefit subsistence farmers. And, with further development, eucalyptus biochar could be used to remove organic pollutants from wastewaters produced by wineries and the food industry."
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