People living in poor, remote and rural areas often lack the necessary tools to produce products that those in other areas often take for granted. Hot, running water, for example, is accessible to many by simply turning on a tap. For those living in rural areas, however, access to hot water is often limited, and difficult to obtain.
Ray McLellan and Andre Kotze, two entrepreneurs based in South Africa, noticed that many people living in rural areas, squatter camps and low-income housing units throughout their home country lacked access to hot water. As a result, personal hygiene was difficult to maintain, and cooking and overall cleanliness was a challenge.
Enter, the Magic Geyser: a device that can heat one “litre of water to +-60 degrees centigrade in +-1 minute on a primus or gas stove.” The Magic Geyser heats water faster than a typical stove, and also saves on electrical costs.
Easier and Cheaper
While this may not sound groundbreaking, having access to cheap, hot water is a challenge for many.
“There are millions of people across the country who need hot water cheaper and more easily,” explained McLellan in an email to Innovate Development. “A Magic Geyser was most needed by those on society’s fringes – to save them time, money, and make personal hygiene more popular by simply making it easier and cheaper.”
The Magic Geysers not only benefit the livelihoods of those who use them, they also help local economies grow. All of the raw materials used to make the device — tins, paint, coils and rubber — are locally sourced. Local artisans are also employed to build the devices, which creates employments opportunities within marginalized communities.
“We envisioned the magic geyser to be a product for the poor: to be made by the poor, used by the poor, and sold by the poor,” said McLellan. “There are millions of disadvantaged across the country who need an income.”
“We also intend forging links with local charities who work within informal communities and invite any of them to work with us,” he continued.
Trial runs for the Magic Geyser were conducted in local settings, specifically within the greater Durban area and Hibberdene. According to McLellan, all participants agreed that the Magic Geyser would boost livelihoods, and hot water was an asset many found difficult to obtain. Demonstrations have attracted large crowds, as people are always looking for products that will help better themselves and their families.
While there are already many devices available to heat water with, they do not work in all situations, or necessarily fit the needs of every individual person.
“Electric geysers and solar heating systems are expensive and consume a lot of electricity, or in the case of solar, only work when the sun shines,” explained McLellan. “We have simply stripped the technology away and designed a device which allows the same heat transfer process to take place but using gravity as a means of keeping the water flowing, and the users existing heat source as a means of heating the flowing water.”
The Magic Geyser is also portable, so it can be carried between households and shared between friends and family. Economically, they are also believed to save roughly 75% of fuel costs, which helps alleviate financial burdens.
However, the initial cost of one will be restrictive to many: Magic Geyser kits are available for purchase online for R899 (roughly $83CAD).