Water is the most precious resource on the planet. Water pollution and the depletion of water sources means that by 2025 half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Water pollution is an increasing issue, putting environmental and human health at risk.
Some substances such as firefighting foams, stain resistant fabrics and pharmaceutical manufacturing chemicals can enter the environment and contaminate water and soil. Henrik wanted to make a difference and find a better way to remove micropollutants from waste water.
Henrik studied bioengineering at Imperial College London where he was inspired to set up Puraffinity.
Henrik and his fellow engineers use advanced biobased materials to capture micropollutants in water.
The product looks a bit like sand, and water flows from top to bottom through the sand in large steel tanks.
The surface of the material is like a hand – the receptors can grab potent contaminates to help purify the water. The material is also reusable to reduce waste.
The invention is based on simple cellulose. Cellulose is found across the plant kingdom, in algae and bacteria and is one of the most abundant natural polymers in the world. The cellulose is used to produce porous granules which can mop up pollutants.
Henrik now works helping clean water from airports, military bases, and run-off water from fire training. By reducing water pollution, engineers like Henrik are making a difference to the planet.