Self-powered disinfection of Viruses and Bacteria in water using Oxidation-assisted electroporation and Tribo-Electric Nanogenerators (VIBO-TENG)

Lead Research Organisation: University of Bath
Department Name: Mechanical Engineering


This proposal will enable an experienced applicant to undertake world-leading research at the University of Bath, merging knowledge from materials, environmental science, microbiology, electrochemistry, nanotechnology, and system modeling. Worldwide, one in three people do not have reliable access to clean water. Disinfection is a key step to remove waterborne pathogens and ensure drinking safety. However, current water disinfection methods have drawbacks, such as harmful disinfection byproducts and intensive energy/chemical consumption. In addition, when there is a severe epidemic (e.g., COVID-19), existing disinfection methods need to meet a large increase in treatment load and may fail to provide safe drinking water. Nanowire-assisted electroporation is an effective microbial disinfection method that utilizes a strong local electric field that is enhanced by a nano-scale tip structure to damage the outer structure of microbes and has been developed by the applicant water disinfection. Since the application of electroporation disinfection is strongly reliant on an available power supply, the applicant will work with the UBAH host (Prof. Bowen) to develop the first self-powered water disinfection system using energy harvesting devices to drive a new oxidation-assisted electroporation disinfection mechanism. This project will transfer the applicant's knowledge to the EU host, in particular his experience in environmental biotechnology, electrochemistry, and nanotechnology. The applicant will gain new expertise in energy harvesting, device design, and system modeling for developing integrated self-powered disinfection devices. This fellowship will be a key step in the applicant's career development, by expanding his research and academic training. This will be facilitated by a focused training plan and establishment of new long-term collaborations across the EU by secondments, and links with other leading energy harvesting and water science institutes/industries.


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