Shedding light on sustainable water

Water and chemicals are two words that don't seem to mix. However, water is of fundamental importance in the chemical industry. Used as a coolant, solvent and cleaning agent, water is a building block of many products. As an increasingly scarce resource, the sustainable use and worldwide conservation of water remains a top priority for BASF. To address this growing concern, BASF develops innovative solutions to reduce pollution, use the resource more efficiently, and purify contaminated water supplies.

Every 20 seconds a child dies from water-related illnesses, and solving water purity and scarcity concerns amid the demands of a growing population is central to our commitment to sustainability.

BASF donated $1 million to the Louisiana State University (LSU) College of Engineering to create a state-of-the-art space, called the BASF Sustainable Living Laboratory. Set to open this fall, the laboratory will promote problem-based teaching and research focused on sustainable solutions to global challenges.

Kevin McPeak, Ph.D., will serve as the Lab's first researcher in residence. Dr. McPeak and his research team are developing a water disinfection system using visible light from the sun. Traditional methods for solar-driven water purification only utilize ultraviolet light, which makes up five percent of the solar spectrum, whereas visible light constitutes over 40 percent of the solar spectrum.

Dr. McPeak's team is developing this as a portable water filtration system that has the potential to provide safe drinking water in developing countries where traditional energy-intensive disinfection methods are not feasible. This technology has the potential to help nearly one billion people worldwide.

In line with the United Nation's sustainability goals and commitment to quality education, this project is also part of BASF's workforce development activities in the U.S. Gulf Coast region. We support the broader community by investing in students, and preparing them for career opportunities in science, technology engineering and math (STEM) through outreach to local elementary and high schools.

Academic collaboration strengthens our power of innovation, allowing us to present cutting-edge solutions to our customers, and contribute to their own sustainability goals and success. Forging strong and mutually beneficial relationships is at the core of BASF's purpose, and our robust connections with value chain partners, non-governmental organizations, and educational institutions, such as LSU, drive sustainable solutions for the world's growing population.

Through financial support for research, mentoring, professional development and collaboration on innovative and exciting new projects, BASF works with its partners to strategically solve today's challenging problems and ensure a better tomorrow.