Researchers from IIT Kharagpur and Oxford University have entered into a collaboration to develop a better understanding of the filtration process of water and cope with global water challenge.

While the collaboration is addressing arsenic contamination of water for drinking and other types of human use, the research has been extended to filtration of other water pollutants as well, an IIT KGP statement said on Wednesday.

Pointing out that the Ganges-Brahmaputra Delta is a global hotspot for arsenic groundwater contamination, the statement said, chemical leaching within fertile farmland soils, as a result of overuse of pesticides and fertilizers, is also widespread in the country.

Researchers at the IIT KGP, led by Professor Sirshendu De of the chemical engineering department, recently developed an ultra-low cost, novel technology by chemically activating naturally available laterite that acts as an adsorbent to filter arsenic.

“Based on our research at IIT KGP, filtered water can now be produced at just 2 paisa per litre, thus making it ideal for a country like India,” Professor De said. This part of developing ultra-low cost novel technology had been done by the IIT KGP team only.

A team of mathematicians from Oxford University, led by Dr Ian Griffiths, then worked on the mathematical modelling techniques which helped extending the life of the filter and the design of scaled-up filters.

“Inter-disciplinary approaches are becoming increasingly important to make progress in present-day challenges and this project is a clear example of such a case,” Professor Griffiths said.

The collaborative developed technology has already been accepted by the Department of Science & Technology, Union Government, PHE department government of West Bengal and the West Bengal Arsenic Task force.

The collaborative project has been funded by the Global Challenge Research Fund (GCRF-UK), University of Oxford.