A Swedish organization is creating water filtration inspired by microorganisms called diatoms, producing pure water in a single filter pass and desalination at any scale. This organisms are key for ecosystems, being responsible for providing roughly 40% of the oxygen in the planet. They also posses a special type of proteins called aquaporins, water channels that selectively facilitate water transport across the cell membrane efficiently.
Aquammodate has developed a sustainable bio-inspired method to stabilise aquaporins . The key stabilisation components are lipids and silica. The lipids are dual purpose because they mimic the natural environment and act as the semi-permeable component in the filter. Silica provides biological components with mechanical and chemical strength while preserving their structure. The filter has also the potential to remove pollutants and contaminants such as arsenic, micro-plastics and pharmaceutical residues. The company is testing membrane prototype performance at laboratory scale. It is also co-developing membranes with existing manufacturers and is planning to start pilot scale testing towards the end of 2021.