J-WAFS awards $150K Solutions grant to Patrick Doyle and team for rapid removal of micropollutants from water
The Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) has awarded the 2022 J-WAFS Solutions Grant to Patrick Doyle, the Robert T Haslam Professor of Chemical Engineering at MIT, for his innovative system to tackle water pollution. His project involves a novel use of reusable, sustainable hydrogel microparticles to remove micropollutants from water. The problem of micropollutants, such as plastics derivatives, 'forever chemicals' and heavy metals, is pervasive, as they are present in more than 85% of rivers, ponds and lakes and can cause physiological damage when ingested over time.
Doyle and his team, which includes his co-principal investigator Rafael Gomez-Bombarelli, assistant professor in materials processing in the department of materials science, will use machine learning to optimise their microparticles, which can be recycled for continuous use. The technology has applications in municipal and industrial water treatment equipment, as well as household products. J-WAFS's USD 150K grant will allow the team to build protocols and prototypes and perform market research to develop a potential business plan. This could help millions of people by improving drinking water quality and provide an economically viable solution to the removal of persistent micropollutants.