Addressing challenges in the area of water scarcity with innovative solutions has a huge impact at global level. Clean water accounts for a very small portion of all water on the planet. As 70% of the world’s surface is covered by water, we can say that the main resource is available, however, 2 billion people are still struggling with access to clean water.
Problem Statement: A big part of the water scarcity challenge is that 97% of all the water on the planet is salt water. We do have ways of desalination, but they are often expensive, require a lot of equipment and are environmentally damaging. Due to weather and climate change access to clean water is also a translocating problem, not easily solved by massive desalination plants. The current response to water shortage is the provision of bottled water; which is also expensive and results in plastic pollution. So what if we could use that immense amount of salt water to supply clean drinkable water to those in need?
Scope for Innovation: The two main ways of removing the salt in water are thermal and membrane desalination. Thermal desalination is hardly used anymore due to the great inefficiency of it. The other method is reverse osmosis; which in simple terms means pushing water through membranes to clear it from salt and other unwanted particles. This is already done in big plants that use large amounts of electricity to generate the required pressure needed to push the water through the membranes and purify the water.
Our Solution of the Week is provided by QuenchSea. A London-based startup that has an answer to our water challenge. QuenchSea has found a way to do this without electricity, anywhere at any time. Their product is a portable water desalination device that uses hydraulics, triple pre-filtration, a small reverse osmosis membrane and some human power to make clean drinkable water out of seawater. By pumping the lever, it generates the 55 bar needed to push the water through the device, delivering up to 2 liters of fresh water per hour. Weighing just 0.7 kg and being the size of a shoebox it can be used anywhere in case of emergency, but it is also useful for sailors, campers and travelers. This desalination device is the first and only to offer a solution to this problem in this way. QuenchSea might not be solving the water crisis immediately, but will definitely help a lot of people in need and alleviate the ever growing water crisis.