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Tongji students win award for heavy metal filter

LOCAL university students have developed a fibrous membrane that can filter heavy metals from water and garbage.
The invention has won them the first "Klaus Topfer Environment Innovation Award" presented today at Tongji University.
The electrospun mesoporous fibrous membrane developed by a team of international graduate students at Tongji University will be first used in a garbage incineration plant in the city's suburban Baoshan District.
"The membrane can remove up to 80 percent of heavy metals from the ashes of burnt garbage," said Wu Yinan, the team leader and a PhD student at Tongji's Environmental Science Department.
"Landfill without removing heavy metals is bad for the environment because heavy metals such as lead and copper can contaminate the soil and underground water," he said.
Moreover, recycled heavy metals can subsidize the city's garbage disposal expenses, Wu said.
The membrane can also be used in water plants to remove heavy metals from water and in air conditioning units to eliminate germs, he added.
The award, named after Klaus Topfer, a former United Nations deputy secretary-general and former executive director of the UN Environmental Programme, aims to encourage environmental protection and innovation among Chinese students.
Students and researchers in more than 200 Chinese universities have participated in the competition.


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