Scientists have made many space technologies to improve the quality of life aboard the International Space Station (ISS). However, some of these technologies have benefitted people living on planet earth as well. LED lighting technology has been developed to help astronauts evade lack of sleep. Later, it has been adapted for domestic use. A weight lifting system that has been designed for astronauts to stay fit in zero gravity is now being utilized in workouts at home and gym. However, now a firm, which has made a water filter system for the International Space Station is all set to design spin-off technologies, which might be able to provide clean drinking water in areas where it is required the most on earth. Experts have said that every drop of moisture, be it sweat or urine needs to be filtered and recycled on the ISS. NASA has said that the current filtering system on the ISS is very bulky and needs to be changed every 90 days. However, a Danish company called Aquaporin A/S has designed a new system, which might be more useful for NASA.
The new system designed by Aquaporin A/S utilizes proteins known as aquaporins. It follows a mechanism, which helps water to travel through the cell membrane of living cells. These proteins help the roots of the plants to absorb water from soils. These proteins help two kidneys to purify around 45 gallons of fluid per day in humans as well. They are quite vigilant in preventing pollutants from passing through, said the officials of the company. As per the report, NASA is planning to replace its existing water purification system with Aquaporin’s newly designed system. Experts have said that the new technology is user friendly for people on earth as well. As per the data, more than 2 billion people in the world do not have access to clean drinking water. In developing countries, people tend to avoid using tap water due to its poor quality. More than half of the population in the US are worried about the quality of their water supply. Experts have found that only 55 percent of people in European countries drink tap water. In such a condition, the new water purification system might be a great help. The company Aquaporin has been working with other wastewater firms such as BIOFOS, which is Denmark’s major state wastewater utility, and UTB Envirotec in Hungary to wipe out pollutants and microplastics from wastewater and stop them from going into the sea.
A study, which has been conducted at BIOFOS, has shown that aquaporins might be able to remove nearly 95 percent of microplastic and micropollutants in wastewater. It uses less power than traditional filtering systems. The new technology will pave the way for accessing pure and drinkable water from wastewater in the future. Aquaporin A/S has developed an under the sink filtration system as well, which does not require electricity to function. This filtration system has been created for the European market. The company plans to expand its reach in the US, India, and China as well in the next two years.