New NORCE-developed instrument detects microplastics in water

This instrument can be connected to the water supply network in Norwegian municipalities. It has already been in use, as NORCE-researchers have examined drinking water in Rogaland.

Sist oppdatert: Jun 18, 2021
Published Jun 18, 2021
Alessio mikroplast instrument vann
Microplastics expert and researcher Alessio Gomiero, NORCE.

It took about a year for researcher and microplastics expert Alessio Gomiero to develop the instrument, which has been engineered in collaboration with the company Ztrong Partner AS.

– How to examine water for microplastics occurrence is a question that has been raised by the EU on several occasions. Now, we have an instrument that is 100 percent developed in NORCE, and ensuring reliable results, says Gomiero.

In a new scientific article in the Journal of Hazardous Materials, the NORCE researcher presents the measuring instrument and the results of the analyses.

– Everyone who is in the business of doing professional analyzes of liquids and drinking water, can benefit from this instrument. It is connected to the water supply network, the water is filtered through and samples are prepared for analysis directly in the sampling device, says Gomiero.

The researchers examined the drinking water of approximately 300 0000 people in the Stavanger area, Sandnes, and further southeast towards Ålgård, in the new study.

– We did not detect microplastics in purified water, and found limited amounts in the raw water - before purification - says Gomiero.

He is one of the leading experts in microplastic analysis methods. In NORCE's plastic laboratory at Mekjarvik, Stavanger, several advanced investigations are conducted. Here the researchers have at their disposal, a lab space defined as a totally clean area. The entrance has an airlock, and the floor a sticky coating, to prevent samples from being contaminated.

Besides Gomiero, NORCE colleague Kjell Birger Øysæad also has been involved in data processing and analyses. In addition, Ztrong Partner and IVAR Iks specialists are contributors to the new study.

Gomiero and colleagues now continue their research with new instruments and the development of novel sampling devices to tackle micro and nano plastics analysis.

– We are in the process of analyzing water for microplastics in four case studies, both in Iceland and Greenland, says Gomiero.


Application of GCMS-pyrolysis to estimate the levels of microplastics in a drinking water supply Alessio Gomiero, et al. Journal of Hazardous Materials, Volume 416, 15 August 2021,