Link of the Day 05082008: Solar Water Disinfection Tarpaulin [Inhabitat]

Metropolitan Magazine Next Generation Winner for 2008


The 2008 Metropolis Magazine Next Generation design competition challenged young architects and designers to create a sustainable solution to make the world better, and safer, with ideas related to the theme of ‘water.’ We are thrilled to announce that this year’s $10,000 prize was awarded to San Francisco based architect and CCA professor Eric Olsen! Olsen’s winning design is a Solar Water Disinfecting Tarpaulin, a revolutionary design that promises to provide portable and potable water anywhere that it is needed.
The tough tarpaulin is composed of laser cut LDPE and rubberized nylon and it expands to hold up to 20 liters of water, which is rendered drinkable after five hours of exposure to the sun. This purification method is approved by the World Health Organization, and uses passive solar heat and ultraviolet radiation to kill disease causing bacteria. The tarpaulin’s beauty is in its simplicity: it’s quick, efficient, and requires no filter, chemicals, or additional energy expenditure.

Metropolitan Magazine Next Generation Winner for 2008 - Solar Water Disinfection Tarpaulin

Cynicism alert: Promises, eh? Wake me up when it’s out in the field.
It’s very pretty (I do like the saguaro cactus inspiration), but it sounds like it will be rather expensive to produce compared to other solar disinfection (SODIS) bags. It also looks a bit hard to carry/cumbersome. Perhaps doable if you have a donkey or other animal. It might make more sense to leave the thing at home, fill your normally used 20L container and transfer water once you get back.

On the “requires no filter”piece: all SODIS bags require some level of particle filtration. The water needs to be clear for the ultra-violet rays to work their magic and I would suspect that most water sources that people are drawing from range from slightly cloudy to turbid.

Judging from the pictures, the material also looks really thick. I’d be interested in seeing the UV penetration stats.

2008 Next Generation Design Prize Runners-Up:

Andrea Brivio, Davide Conti, and Fabio Galli (Italy): S_M_L, a housing project designed for the city of Melaka, Malaysia, that harnesses the power of the region’s daily rainfall and uses it to produce electricity and replenish gray water systems.

Yuichi Watanabe, Katz Miyahara, and Yoshi Ogawa (Seattle): Polarfloat, large floating structures in the Arctic Ocean that provide places for polar bears to land as the ice melts.

Joseph Cory, Eyal Malka, and Creative Constructions (Israel): WatAir, a simple unit with an integrated infrastructure for collecting dew and rainwater.

Paul Giacomantonio, Vera Templeman, William Sorich, and Kat Taylor (Pescadero, CA): “The Sun Curve,” a self-sustaining aquaponic food growing system, powered by solar and wind energy.

Charles Lee (San Francisco): Pacific Coast Interpretive Center for Ocean Health, living systems that recycle gray water and runoff by filtering wetlands, cooling the gray water with ocean water, and producing energy with tidal generators.

Lars Mayer (Germany): Sustainable Water, a surface water purification solution that is suited to the needs of developing countries and based on natural processes, using the seeds of the moringa tree.

Robyn Perkins (Boston): emergeMUMBAI, a method of rainwater harvesting that is used as a spatial backbone, a flood mitigation tool, and a water source for redeveloping public housing lands in Mumbai, India.

Gerald Lindner, Jeroen Tacx, Beate Lendt, Peter Heidman, and Martin Oostenrijk (Netherlands): Water Harvester, a double-tubed solar water distiller that is made of polyethylene film and uses a solar-powered water desalinator to make fresh water from polluted or salt water.

Renata Fenton and Enrique Lomnitz (Mexico): Isla Urbana, small, modular, inexpensive and expandable rainwater harvesting systems that can be affordably purchased by the low-income households in Mexico City most affected by the rapidly increasing water shortages.

Thomas Kosbau and Tyson Gillard (New York): Vena: Water Courses from Air, a biomimetic low-cost, low-energy solution for people in climates that lack consistent rainfall or clean ground sources to harvest vast amounts of drinking water from the atmosphere.

via Benny Lee

Related Posts:
Video: Dean Kamen on Colbert Report talking about his water purification system
Results of Water purity testing (Cap-Haitien)
Popular Mechanics Breakthrough Conference Pt 1 [Video] See 4th vid: Solar disinfection (SODIS) bag upgrade