The benchmark method to treat micropollutants in water is activated carbon. However, making filters with activated carbon is energy-intensive, requiring very high temperatures in large, centralized facilities. Gokhale says approximately “four kilograms of coal are needed to make one kilogram of activated carbon, so you lose a significant amount of carbon dioxide to the environment.” According to the World Economic Forum, global water and wastewater treatment accounts for 5 percent of annual emissions. In the U.S. alone, the EPA reports that drinking water and wastewater systems account for over 45 million tons of greenhouse gas emissions annually.“
We need to develop methods which have smaller climate footprints than methods which are being used industrially today,” says Gokhale.
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