Purifying Water With Plasma

Michigan Engineering professor John Foster is working on a method to purify water with the fourth state of matter – plasma. Foster hopes his new technology, which produces reactive radicals that can attack organic contaminants such as pesticides and pharmaceuticals, will help solve a problem not currently being addressed in conventional treatment methods that rely on filtration and chlorine.

Foster’s technology, originally envisioned as a point-of-use system for underdeveloped countries, could be scaled up to a larger mechanism that would be implemented as a stage in the conventional treatment process.

About the Professor: John Foster ( is an Associate Professor of Nuclear Engineering and Radiological Sciences ( at the University of Michigan College of Engineering ( His research interests include low-temperature plasma science including the areas of propulsion plasmas, environmental plasmas, space and atmospheric plasma phenomena, energy conversion plasmas and processing plasmas.

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