Czech Republic is a nanotechnological superpower. We turn pig faeces into drinkable water

One of the guarantors of this year Future Port Prague will be Jiří Kůs, Czech Nanotechnology Industries Association Executive Board chairman. Now when we say “nanotechnologies”, many of you may think of nanobots or the recent Nobel prize phenomenon – graphene. It definitely does not end here.

The global nanotechnology market should reach $90.5 billion by 2021 from $39.2 billion in 2016 according to BBC Research. So what if I told you that even a small country like Czechia can be a nanotechnological giant? Local nanoscientists are developing fascinating bacteria-like nanobots, they made the tiniest – graphene-based – magnet in the world and they have also managed to turn pig faeces into drinkable water. Pretty impressive, don’t you think?

Pig faeces turned into drinkable water

There is also a company which can protect your bed from mites. Where’s the trick? Nanofibres – exclusively Czech unique technology.

Bedding, firewood, or batteries

Bedding covers by Nanoprogres prevent mites to get into your duvet or pillow. Spaces inside the fabric are physically so narrow that mites won’t pass. Therefore there is no need for chemistry. It is that simple.

This technology is also behind the aforementioned pig faeces transformation. Czech Research Technology Institute (VTI) filters made out of nanofibres can get clean water from swine faeces. The water, by the way, tastes really good – as I can confirm. Again, for the most part, this is possible due to the fact that there are almost no spaces between single fibers. And it doesn’t end here. VTI brings the whole economical solution for recycling swine faeces. Once you separate the water you will get dry smelly leftovers. This solid material is transformed into pellets which can be used as a fertilizer product or as an alternative for firewood – with better calorific value.

Nanomedicine is the future

Nanofibres can be also used in medicine. Last year an international team of five universities developed the first artificial thymus in the world. What is so unique about it? The artificial thymus does not need any external source of energy. It’s completely self-sufficient and fully programmable. Nanopharma, nano company based in Liberec was among those who significantly contributed to this tremendous success. Their nanofibres added a solid structure to the organ and were after brought to life by thymus cells from children donors. The artificial thymus is crucial for cancer and infection diseases treatment. It can also play a significant role in supporting organism after transplantations and chemotherapies.

Liliana Berezkinová. Nanopharma chairman of the board
Liliana Berezkinová. Nanopharma chairman of the board

These high-quality nanofibrous materials are made by Czech company Pardam with their electrospinning and centrifugal spinning nanofiber production technology. Their nanofibers have many commercial applications such as energy storage (novel material for batteries and fuel cells). Composite materials (ceramic and polymer composites), catalysts, sensors, thin films, membrane separation or decontamination (water and air purification).

“Golden Czech hands,” as Czechs like to say is a saying that in this case is completely justified. They managed to create an amazing nanotech field which has a huge global potential – evidence that in today’s world even a small country can add to the global innovation pool alongside superpowers like USA or China.

Author: Martin Kysilka, 6Dhub.cz