GLASSwater is a project that filters and purifies water using recycled glass which has been used to manufacture a porous ceramic membrane. Currently, the ceramic membranes used in the filtration of raw water need about $100 – $200 for production. Those made from recycled glass cost only about $50 to $100 to produce. This implies a direct 50 percent reduction in manufacturing costs. We no longer need to melt glass and dump it. We only recycle it. This means great energy savings because very high temperatures in excess of 1,600 °C are necessary to melt glass. More importantly, this is more environmentally friendly too because melting glass releases a lot of carbon dioxide and other toxins.
Applications that do not need the water to be extra pure can make use of this recycled water. For instance, irrigation for crops and water for the hoses in car washes could be the filtered product of these membranes. Since the membrane has great flux, water goes through it fast and easy. The membrane also has the ability to eliminate solids and pathogenic bacteria which cause diseases like cholera and typhoid.
Rainwater runoffs from roofs can be made to go through these cheaply produced membranes to offer a reservoir of water for gardening purposes. Work is now on to improve the purification abilities of GLASSwater so that it does much beyond just the removal of turbidity and pathogens alone. And since the EWTCOI (Environmental & Water Technology Centre of Innovation) has won grants worth $10.3 million for such projects, we can only wait and watch.