For water treatment, scientists take a cue from human kidney

November 17, 2014 12:12 am | Updated October 06, 2016 01:35 am IST - SINGAPORE:

While India is busy following the models of smart cities in Singapore, the future technology initiatives of the island nation include projects on mimicking human kidney for filtering water and building of space elevator.

A high-level research is under way at the National University of Singapore (NUS) and Nanyang Technology University (NTU) to mimic the functioning of human kidney in water treatment, according to Singapore Public Utilities Board (PUB) Director George Madhavan.

“Human body has an excellent system of filtering evolved over millions of years. We are trying to understand, decipher, mimic or duplicate it to make the best filtering possible,” Mr Madhavan said. So far, scientists have been successful in understanding the physical and chemical structures of human kidney and are in the process of making prototypes and experiments, he added.

Like several natural resources, fresh water, too, is a scarce resource for Singapore.

Owing to scarcity of fresh water, the island nation invests heavily on water conservation, preservation and treatment that covers 17 reservoirs and 8,000 km of drains.

The industry in Singapore uses more than 55 per cent of water, and the rest is consumed by citizens. As of now, the country is dependent on water supply from Malaysia, rain and treated water.

Re-cycled water Using re-cycled water (‘new water’, as they call it) for drinking and other purposes is very common in Singapore. According to its national plan, the country’s aim is to meet 55 per cent drinking water needs through processed new water by 2061, the year till Malaysia is expected to supply water to Singapore as per an agreement. The remaining water need will be met through rain, according to a government policy document. The country’s humongous plans also include building an elevator to space which still is under the active consideration of the government, according to sources.

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