Nanotechnology solutions for water discussed at MINAPIM 2015

Applications of microsystems and nanotechnologies for water were discussed during MINAPIM 2015. Jacobus Swart presented NAMITEC project results: nanotechnology for water problems and agrifood. The motivation for the project is to feed the growing population, and to mitigate and prevent environmental disasters (e.g. the recent breaking of a tailings dam in Minas Gerais). The NAMITEC project has been funded in three phases since 2001 until today. The consortium hopes to start the next phase from 2016-2022. The research focused on wireless sensor networks and Integrated Circuit design. Among other achievements, they developed several sensors devices for pressure, humidity, gas, CNT and graphene etc., and an ISFET for measuring pH and for controlling the levels of lead (Pb) in water.

Alba Avila, University of the Andes, Colombia, presented water monitoring in Colombia – a crowdsourcing approach. Water use in Colombia includes 13% in industry including mining. Cyanide and mercury are used to extract metals. Mining includes coal, gold, nickel etc. The extracted amounts vary with the world prices, and are now much higher than in 2003. This leads to increased pollution of rivers, ground and surface water. They make use of crowd sourcing and social networks, through tools that communities can use to monitor water quality to involve users. The monitoring kits measure things like pH, conductivity, water savings, etc. The project is led by Engineers without Borders, working with high school students: They have collected 6900 reports from 400 users. In addition to existing solutions, they are developing nanosensors, but communities don’t trust nanotechnology. Therefore, university students have collected fewer reports on mercury levels in field tests.

The MINAPIM 2015 seminar ( was held 18-19 November 2015 in Manaus, Brazil, as part of the International Fair for the Amazon FIAM ( The focus of MINAPIM 2015 was on applications of microsystems and nanotechnology for agrifood, health and environment including nanosafety. Industry 4.0 and the Internet of Things were main issues discussed in several presentations. The event, with around 50 participants, was hosted by the Superintendence for the Free Trade Zone of Manaus (SUFRAMA) and the Brazilian representative of the German Fraunhofer Institute.

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