According to Terra Daily, around two billion people in the world are drinking unsafe contaminated water, which is why the new solution could spark hope for more of a quarter of the Earth's population.

Study co-lead author Tong Wu said that "waterborne diseases are responsible for 2 million deaths annually, the majority in children under the age of 5. We believe that our novel technology will facilitate revolutionary changes in water disinfection and inspire more innovations in this exciting interdisciplinary field."

Regular water-treatment alternatives need electricity in order to work and take a relative long time to complete, while producing ultraviolet light and dangerous chemicals.

By contrast, the solution discovered by researchers at Stanford University is able to absorb the UV light and uses metal particles like iron oxide and copper.

To test the efficiency of the product, the team used 200 milliliters of water that was poisoned with one million E. coli bacteria per milliliter.

Co-lead author Bofei Liu explained that "we stirred the powder into the contaminated water. Then we carried out the disinfection test on the Stanford campus in real sunlight, and within 60 seconds no live bacteria were detected."

Another ingenious thing is that the powder substance is recyclable and the researchers were able to retrieve it 30 times from 30 different contaminated water tanks, which were all successfully disinfected.

This means that, with the help of a magnet, the substance can be recovered and re-used many times.