Water & Wastewater Asia Sep/Oct 2019

Water & Wastewater Asia • September / October 2019 14 | IN PERSON Birgit Dursch, Founder and Executive Partner of Silvertex Aqua In the age of the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ever-growing push towards Industry 4.0, plant owners constantly seek better, more advanced solutions to their problems – inadvertently forgetting that sometimes, the best solutionsmight just be the simplest. Here, Silvertex Aqua offers an ingenious solution to aid the process of disinfection in the water treatment process, where biocides or UV light are commonly used. A silver-coated 3D textile, Silvertex works without energy or repeat doses to protect water against bacterial contamination and biofilm growth, over a period of up to two years. The material was developed in collaboration with the Technical University of Dresden and is produced in Germany. Birgit Dursch, founder and executive partner of Silvertex Aqua, explained, “Silvertex is not a membrane, filter or disinfectant. We use the microbiological effect of silver ions in liquids, and we can keep water quality good for a long time with a very low amount of silver ions in the water.” How Silvertex works is based off the principle of avoidance – the metallic silver attached to the silver-coated thread acts as a reservoir for generating and regularly releasing Ag+ ions in the water to decontaminate the water and inhibit the growth of bacteria. Dursch said, “The antibacterial effect of silver has been well known since the middle ages – these dark, shiny fibres on the Silvertex mat are silver-coated plastic fibres, and with this 3D mesh structure, we are able to bring a huge silver contact surface into the water. One square metre of this material brings us about 24 square metres of silver contact surface, and for this we need a very low amount of silver, about 6-12 grams per square metre.” In this way, Dursch explained, the textile acts as a substitute for biocides, and reduces biofilm growth in drinking, production, cooling, process and industrial water systems. “In the area of drinking water, you normally have a gap between water production and consumption: You produce water, but not all the water will be consumed in time. So, you store the water, you fill it up into water trucks or big tanks. And the water stands in pipes – in this way the water gets contaminated, the bacteria, viruses, fungi and spores are able to grow in the water again, in the water that the customer is drinking. Otherwise, the customer will have a problem with biofilms in the water supply network. Silvertex: Sometimes, less is more