They are made up of an active part for self-power and a chemically reactive part for cleaning, and can be recovered using magnetic fields and guided to defined locations using “tactic behaviours” imposed by differences in temperature or pH.
“Centralized water suppliers look for systems that are energetically more viable than current ones and for onsite water purification systems which can be faster, more affordable and less aggressive,” explains Samuel. “Microcleaners are all these things, as well as being re-usable, which will significantly reduce the cost of the water treatment.”
Samuel hopes that the PoC grant will allow him to make a pilot device with multiple fluidic parameters that can be precisely controlled, and to eventually test it in up-scaled systems containing real contaminated water, first in the lab and later at a water treatment facility. Eventually he hopes that his Microcleaners will be applied in various environments such as industrial wastewaters or polluted aquatic ecosystems.
The 135 successful applicants in the third round of ERC PoC grants, which are worth €150,000 each and can be used to establish intellectual property rights, investigate business opportunities or conduct technical validation, were announced this week. The ERC received 339 applications for the grants and awarded funding worth €20 million to researchers in 17 countries in Europe, including 19 others in Spain.
ERC press release: “From frontier research to innovation: ERC funds 135 inventions”