A new way to swiftly eliminate micropollutants from water

Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab (J-WAFS) fellow Devashish Gokhale works with MIT Robert T. Haslam Professor of chemical engineering Patrick Doyle on a J-WAFS-funded project to develop and commercialise a hydrogel capable of removing multiple classes of pollutants from water.

Devashish says, “Most technologies focus only on specific molecules or specific classes of molecules. So, you have whole technologies which are focusing only on PFAS, and then you have other technologies for lead and metals. When you start thinking about removing all of these contaminants from water, you end up with designs which have a very large number of unit operations. And that's an issue because you have plants which are in the middle of large cities, and they don't necessarily have space to expand to increase their contact times to efficiently remove multiple micropollutants.”


“Zwitterionic” might not be a word you come across every day, but for Professor Patrick Doyle of the MIT Department of Chemical Engineering, it’s a word that’s central to the technology his group is developing to remove micropollutants from water. Derived from the German word “zwitter,” meaning “hybrid,” “zwitterionic” molecules are those with an equal number of positive and negative charges.

MIT News