The climate change, growing world population, together with a widespread use of chemicals in industry and our everyday life, are projected to reduce water availability in sufficient quantity and quality and increase a global demand for clean water. The NATSORB project will try to meet those expectations and explore the possibility of employing the mineral dypingite (Mg5(CO3)4(OH)2∙5H2O) - as a nature-inspired functional mineral, able to sequestrate heavy elements from water.
The early experiments suggest that dypingite has excellent sorption properties, and removes elements such as such as lead, cadmium and chromium from water, more efficiently than other tested materials. NATSORB aims to develop a new type of water filters based on this natural chemical compound. However, before the proposed technology can be designed, it is necessary to fully characterise the mineral.
Dypingite was first discovered in the serpentine localities at Modum in Norway. Although dypingite has been known for more than 50 years, its atomic structure is still not fully understood. Thus, in the project we will combine various analytical techniques to expand our understanding of the naturally occurring dypingite before making its synthetic analogues, with properties optimized for the water cleaning technology. The project is a collaboration between the University of Oslo, SINTEF, NIVA, University of Münster and the municipality of Røros, where field tests of the new functional materials, created in this project, will be performed in flooded abandoned metal mines.