UC Berkeley's ARUBA E-Team has been named by NASA as one of the world's top 10 projects that is 'contributing tangible progress to some of the greatest water challenges facing our planet.' The team is highlighted on NASA's Launch-water website. Take a look.
The innovation: ARUBA (Arsenic Removal Using Bottom Ash) removes arsenic from drinking water using bottom ash, the fine gray powder that piles up at the bottom of furnaces at coal-fired power stations. The ash is coated with ferric hydroxide, which binds to arsenic. The ash can then be removed from the water through filtration.
The ARUBA E-Team attended NCIIA's March Madness for Mind showcase in 2007. Next Saturday, March 27, March Madness for the Mind 2010 will be held at the Exploratorium in San Francisco. Your chance to see the world's next great innovations!
University of California, Berkeley, 2007 - $20,000
In Bangladesh, naturally occurring arsenic poisons shallow drinking wells, exposing 30-70 million Bangladeshis to dangerously high levels of the toxin. Most of the people affected by arsenic are among the world’s poorest. To combat the problem, this team from UC Berkeley is developing ARUBA (Arsenic Removal Using Bottom Ash), a simple technology that effectively and affordably removes arsenic from drinking water. The team is partnered with the Bangladesh Rural Advancement Committee (BRAC), the largest NGO in Bangladesh.
The top three objectives of this grant are: (1) Technical: scale up the production of ARUBA to greater than 500g/day, transfer the knowledge required to manufacture ARUBA to collaborators in Bangladesh, and construct a bench-top, proof-of-concept prototype than can be tested in Bangladesh in summer 2008; (2) Socioeconomic: completion of a village economic assessment through creation of a survey which will be administered in Bangladesh in summer 2008; (3) Business: quantify market size and opportunities for profitability, and continue to work towards ARUBA technology licensing.
University of California, Berkeley, 2004 - $20,000
This E-Team developed a prototype device for removing arsenic from Bangladesh's drinking water. The device uses chemically treated bottom ash (residue left over from coal combustion) as the medium for removing arsenic. The invention is based on coating the surfaces of bottom ash particles with ferric hydroxide, and using this treated ash to react with, remove, and immobilize arsenic in water supplies. Lab results demonstrated that 5 gm of treated bottom ash can reduce arsenic concentration in 2.4 liters of water from 2400 ppb to 10 ppb.
The E-Team believes the final product’s pricing model will be proportional to table salt, costing <.30/kg per person per year. The business costs are also comparable to table salt.
The team consisted of four lab-based professionals in chemical engineering and physics.