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Ben-Gurion U. and UChicago research collaboration targets water resource innovations
Date:6/26/2013

to people around the globe."

The first wave of research proposals include fabricating new materials tailored to remove contaminants, bacteria, viruses, and salt from drinking water at a fraction of the cost of current technologies; biological engineering that will help plants maximize their own drought-resistance mechanisms; and polymers that can change the water retention properties of soil in agriculture.

UChicago, BGU and Argonne have jointly committed more than $1 million in seed money over the next two years to support at least five inaugural projects, with the first projects getting underway this fall.

One proposed project would attempt to devise multi-functional and anti-fouling membranes for water purification. These membranes, engineered at the molecular level, could be switched or tuned to remove a wide range of biological and chemical contaminants and prevent the formation of membrane-fouling bacterial films. Keeping those membranes free of fouling would extend their useful lives and decrease energy usage while reducing the operational cost of purifying water.

Another proposal focuses on developing polymers for soil infusion or seed coatings to promote water retention. Such polymers conjure visions of smart landscapes that can substantially promote agricultural growth while reducing irrigation needs.

Officials from both the U.S. and Israel hailed the collaboration as an example of the potential for collaborative innovation that can improve quality of life and boost economic vitality.

Mayor Emanuel said, "Chicago's worldwide leadership in water management continues to grow as we invest in our water infrastructure, creating jobs for our residents and economic activity in our neighborhoods. I strongly support this partnership and I look forward to working with leading institutions like BGU and University of Chicago to create innovations and opportunities for the future."

The institutions have m
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Contact: Andrew Lavin
andrewlavin@alavin.com
516-944-4486
American Associates, Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Source:Eurekalert

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