Artificial water lilies made of a nanotechnology-filled plastic mesh have been designed to absorb water pollution.
From a distance, they look like large cosmetic pads dropped on the water's surface; they resemble water lilies. The LilyPads are covered with a thin mesh of plastic nanomaterials. When light hits the LilyPads, a chemical reaction takes place that enables pollutants to be "broken down". Each LilyPad can treat one cubic metre of contaminated water per day without harming aquatic life.
"The water lilies can just be dropped on the water. They float just under the water's surface and start to clean it without further prompting", explained Puralytics founder and CEO Mark Owen. "The nanoparticle mesh responds to sunlight, causing a redox reaction at the surface, breaking down almost all types of chemicals and destroying all contaminants with which it comes into contact."
He went on to say that the LilyPads are first intended to help clean the water in developing countries that do not have the necessary water treatment facilities. However, he also sees it being useful in other circumstances, such as cleaning up ponds, pools and other forms of standing water, improving agricultural irrigation or treating water during large storms.
LilyPad is an extension of another technological process called Solar Bag. The latter was also designed by Mark Owen. The 3-litre solar bag is the world's first portable water purifier that meets the EPA's stringent standards and which can eliminate microorganisms, organic contaminants and heavy metals. The Solar Bag is powered by natural sunlight which activates a mesh of nanotechnologies able to purify water in a few hours, even in cloudy weather.