In a new report out today, a team of researchers from our Department of Chemical Engineering have developed a low-cost device that could be used in developing countries to monitor the quality of drinking water in real time without costly lab equipment.
Current methods of detecting pollutants in water are costly, time-consuming and require specialist technical expertise. However, our researchers, in collaboration with Bristol Robotics Laboratory at the University of the West of England, have created a low cost sensor using 3D printing technology that can be used directly in rivers and lakes for continuous water quality monitoring.
The sensor contains bacteria that produce a small measurable electric current as they feed and grow. The researchers found that when the bacteria are disturbed by coming into contact with toxins in the water, the electric current drops, alerting to the presence of pollutants in the water.