Team:UGent Belgium/Description

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Having access to clean water is a fundamental human right. This right has been referred to in a number of international documents over the past decades and was specifically included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. The principle was reinforced that everyone, regardless of their location and economic circumstances, should be entitled to sufficient, safe and affordable freshwater and sanitation.

For the first time in history, the global demand for fresh water is overtaking its supply in many parts of the world. The U.N. predicts that by 2025, more than half of the countries in the world will be experiencing water stress or outright shortages. The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, states the 'Lack of access to water for drinking, hygiene, and food security inflicts enormous hardship on more than one billion members of the human family'.

Our project is to design an optimized modular shape/surface for condensation and subsequent freshwater collection by gravity. Our modules will be 3D printed in an innovative desiccant filament that allows us to bind ice-nucleating proteins. The project's primary focus is to enable bioprecipitation and recover fresh water by passive atmospheric condensation. Being able to functionalize 3D-printed shapes with biologicals has an abundance of potential applications.

Work packages

To facilitate the work that needs to be done for this project, we divided the work into four different work packages: shape, filament, biofunction and proof of concept. Shape designs the 3D shape of our water collector, so that this designs is the most optimal for collecting water in the most efficient way. As we need biotin in our shape to connect our engineered bacteria to our collecting device, filament works on creating another type of PLA bioplastic impregnated with biotin. Biofunction is a work package dedicated entirely to engineering the right bacteria for our project. The last work package, proof of concept, will test our water collector with bacteria attached to it on its functionality.