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Fungi Attracting Textile: French Municipality is Betting on Mycofiltration to Purify its Rainwater.

Bio-inspired innovation is gaining traction among French municipalities, as seen in Plourin-lès-Morlaix's, in the Ouest of France. The town is investing in a new textile solution which possesses a unique ability to attract and utilize microorganisms present in the soil, effectively trapping and degrading micropollutants found in rainwater. Despite its unassuming appearance, the 960-square-meter tarpaulin recently installed in Plourin-lès-Morlaix, within a forthcoming housing development comprising 33 plots, is the culmination of years of research.

A Textile Designed to Trap Micropollutants

This "aquatextile" functions as a specialized trap. Grégory Lucas, a business engineer for TenCate AquaVia, explains, "Within the fibers, we have a migration of microorganisms that come to inhabit the textile to feed." These microorganisms include fungi and bacteria naturally present in the soil, known for their voracious appetite. This characteristic enables them to digest pollutants like hydrocarbons and PAHs, which are generated by the combustion of fossil fuels in diesel engines and pose significant health risks, including certain forms of cancer.

Installed within a basin, the textile tarpaulin effectively retains hydrocarbons from road traffic within the future housing development. Lucas emphasizes, "thanks to these microorganisms, we do not experience the saturation and clogging effect with hydrocarbons in rainwater because depollution occurs faster than the next pollution that arrives."

A Forward-Thinking Solution for Sustainable Development

Plourin-lès-Morlaix's decision to implement this innovative solution stems from a commitment to sustainable urban development. Claude Poher, deputy mayor in charge of urban planning, development, and housing, elaborates, "Our goal is to limit water inflows into rivers, and to do this, we filter the water to the maximum in the housing development."

Moreover, this approach helps mitigate the risk of flooding, ensuring that purified water remains in place, infiltrating nearby soils without the risk of contamination, rather than re-entering stormwater networks and subsequently reaching rivers. Claude Poder, deputy mayor of Plourin-lès-Morlaix, affirms, "There will be less water in the town of Morlaix and therefore less risk of flooding."

Beyond Plourin-lès-Morlaix: A Growing Trend in France

Plourin-lès-Morlaix's initiative reflects a broader trend in France, particularly in regions like Brittany, where other municipalities are considering or have already adopted similar pollutant-trapping textiles. The Future of Sustainable Urban Solutions This innovative textile not only addresses current environmental challenges but also offers long-term sustainability benefits. Designed to require minimal maintenance and boasting a lifespan of at least a hundred years once in the ground, it represents a promising step toward more eco-friendly urban development practices.

[Image credits: TenCate AquaVia]


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