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Bicycle-Powered Portable Water Filter System For Disaster Zones

Researchers have developed a portable water filtration system, powered by bicycle that can be used in disaster zones//.

The Nanyang Technological University's (NTU) institute of environmental science and engineering unveiled the unit, consisting of a bicycle coupled with a mechanical pump and a membrane module to filter the water.

Believed to be the world's first, NTU experts said it is an improvement on the hand-cranked model made for Indonesia's tsunami-stricken Aceh Province in January last year.

As an aftermath of the Dec 26, 2004 disaster, the institute quickly made the hand-cranked units that were given to the Red Cross for shipment.

"There is a world of difference between the previous unit and our latest invention," The Straits Times quoted Tay Joo Hwa of NTU as saying. "Hand-cranking is not so efficient in generating enough pressure to push the clean water past the membrane."

Larger pores in the previous membranes meant that some bacteria and viruses still passed through, he said. Chlorine tablets had to be added to make the water drinkable without boiling.

The new pedal-powered system uses finer membranes to filter the water so it can be drunk straight from the tap, explained Tay.

It takes just five minutes to disassemble the unit and transport it to another area.

According to NTU, each unit is estimated to cost 3,000 Singapore dollars ($1,875) to 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,125), as some parts have to be specially fabricated.

--Edited IANS

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