Originally designed for industrial use, Michael Pritchard’s Lifesaver bottle filters dirty water into clean, sterile drinking water. He says some humanitarian groups are resistant to giving up more traditional forms of filtration, but is confidant that Lifesaver Systems is the future of filtration.
Imagine being surrounded by water and unable to safely consume it. This problem is not just experienced by people living in the developing world, but anywhere that people find themselves in the midst of a natural disaster and with limited or no resources. As the effects of global warming sweep the globe, devastating hurricanes, tsunamis, and flooding leave many people without clean drinking water, which is why Pritchard’s filtration bottles are so important.
The traditional methods of filtration include chlorine tablets and filters made out of ceramic. The tablets are risky because they might be mistaken for medicine, and cause severe damage if consumed. The ceramic filters are unable to filter out viruses like polio, because the virus is smaller than the pores of the filter. Before Pritchard figured out how to get a filter to work using compressed air to push the water through the pores, handheld filters were unable to produce completely safe and sterile drinking water.
The Lifesaver bottle uses a handheld pump, that pushes water through pores that are 15 nanometres wide, and thus small enough to filter out viruses and bacteria. The pump has been used by hikers, British soldiers in Afghanistan, and humanitarian organizations in the developing world.
Pritchard said that some aid organizations just weren’t “getting it”, and attributes this to being resistant to change. They balked at the price of the filters, which when compared to the low cost of chlorine tablets seems exorbitant. On the Lifesaver Systems website, they advertise their newest product, the Cube, for $209.99 USD. When you purchase the cube, Lifesaver donates another to a family in need of safe drinking water. You can also choose to donate directly to families and communities in need.
We reached out to Lifesaver Systems to find out more about their pricing for aid organizations, but have not received any additional information. Lifesaver supporters include OXFAM, Save the Children, British Red Cross, and UKaid, and their overall aim is to end water poverty by 2030.
Photos courtesy of Lifesaver Systems and Inhabit.com.