Filipino chemists invent abaca-based fiber that filters water pollutants

  • Chemists from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute have developed a new type of non-woven fabric that can filter out toxic materials
  • It can filter heavy metals dissolved in liquid
  • The invention was declared as the Regional Winner for the Outstanding Utility Model in 2019

An abaca-based non-woven fabric that can filter out toxic materials and other contaminants in wastewater was developed by Filipino chemists.

Image via DOST

Chemists from the Department of Science and Technology-Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) have developed the new type of non-woven fabric from natural fiber abaca and synthetic polymers.

According to a report, it can filter heavy metals dissolved in liquid like lead, cadmium, nickel, chromium, mercury, and arsenic that are hazardous to health and to the environment.

The DOST disclosed that “the materials are grafted using radiation at PNRI’s Electron Beam Irradiation Facility, after which it is further processed into its final form as a synthesized filter for heavy metals.”

Image via DOST

It was also bared that using abaca fabric is cheaper. Joan Tugo of DOST-PNRI said in a report that the abaca-based filter could be used “as a treatment medium in the removal of chromium in tanning industry wastewaters, lead in lead acid battery recycling facilities, and other industrial wastewaters that contain heavy metals before releasing the effluents into the bodies of water.”

The invention was declared as the Regional Winner for the Outstanding Utility Model Award during the 2019 DOST Regional Invention Contests and Exhibits (RICE) in the National Capital Region in November 2019.

The International Atomic Energy Agency also expressed intention to engage in a project with the Philippines and other countries for the increasing use of these technologies to minimize hazardous pollutants in various bodies of water in the Asia-Pacific region.