Company making whirlpools to clean microplastics from water

(CNN) — Microplastics contaminate the whole planet, from Arctic ice to Mount Everest. The tiny particles, less than 5 millimeters in diameter, are in the air we breathe, and have been found in human placentablood and lungs.

Scientists estimate that there are at least 14 million metric tons of microplastics on the ocean floor, and while all kinds of plastic debris are considered bad for the environment, these ones are especially hard to detect and remove because of their minuscule size.

German company Wasser 3.0, however, thinks it may have found the answer to cleaning up microplastic pollution before it reaches the ocean — using a whirlpool and a specially developed hybrid silica gel.

The process involves creating a vortex in a tank of water. A compound, called Wasser 3.0 PE-X, is added, which acts as a clumping agent, drawing together any microplastics into popcorn-shaped lumps that rise to the surface and can be skimmed off using a sieve.

“The removal technology is very straightforward,” says Dr. Katrin Schuhen, inventor and founder of Wasser 3.0, adding that the process can be used in any kind of water, from freshwater and seawater to industrial and wastewater.

To read about this innovative strategy and view a video click here.

From CNN Business. By Nell Lewis and Sean Kirkegaard, Wed October 12, 2022