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kmg0006's picture

This is such an important research topic and thank you for sharing your project! This team is truly working toward bettering the quality of life of many.
I am curious on the future of the filters, if the filters were to be implemented heavily in the mentioned communities, what is the lifespan on each filter? How often do they need to be changed and are they expensive? Also, how would these communities be able to buy new filters? Would they be manufactured and sold at a convenient location for these community members?
Thanks so much!

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Vigberase's picture

Hi Kmg006, thank you for your feedback. Your questions are fascinating, some of which our research is aiming to answer. I will try and respond to your questions accordingly.

To your first question, we are working with small filters of about 5cm in height and 2cm in diameter to fit lab-scale research. Please understand that our calculation is based on the filter's size, and the mass of biochar-pumice (about 3 grams) packed in each filter. Based on this information and results from filter experiments, the lifespan of each filter would be reached after 1 liter of water containing 50 ppm of lead (Pb) passes through. If the source water is contaminated with a lower level of Pb like 0.1 ppm, the same size of filter would treat 500 liters of water in theory. Assuming 5 L of water consumption per day, this leads to 100 days of lifespan for the 3-gram filter. How often these filters will be changed (lifespan) depends largely on the size of the column filter used by community residents and the volume of drinking water consumed daily or monthly.

To answer your last two questions, community residents may not necessarily need to buy new filters that may be too expensive, as one of the goals of this project is to reduce financial burden on low-income communities. The biochar in this poster has been made from a laboratory furnace but there are DIY versions of biochar pyrolysis units (e.g., Biocharlie or small-scale Top-lit updraft gasifier). One of our student team members is working on comparing Pb removal performance by biochars affected by production methods (lab furnace vs. biocharlie).