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Good news, really? Well, I've been writing so many bleak water diaries for so long (I am sure you are well versed about the current water scarcity, desertification and Climate Change) that I need to cheer myself up (and you) with one  - major - positive development. I have great faith in humanity and this post is dedicated to the good folks out there bursting their synapses coming up with novel ways of making the world less dependent on fossil fuels, fighting for water rights, working out solutions to feed the planet and generally trying to make this earth a better place (if you look at the human brain from say, 150,000 years ago, you will not see much difference when compared with today's brains. Yet the drive to learn, as well as our ability to communicate and work collectively, has lifted our human potential to unimaginable levels.)

For quite some time I have been following the efforts of Ireland-based entrepreneur Pat Farrelly of Aqua-Nu, and his revolutionary water filtration devices. Why is it important? Click on the above link. Mr Farrelly (who, by the way, is completely self-taught in the world of ceramic technology) has come up with a method of filtering water through ceramic which works roughly 700 times faster than anything else currently manufactured.

Note that I have absolutely no financial interest in his company but a huge admiration for what he has achieved.

Here's what Farrelly has to say on his invention:

"We had six years of trial and error, and a cost of around 1.7 million euros to get us this far. Existing filtration technologies, while better than nothing, can’t match Aqua-Nu’s flow rates and filtration performance. There is a reasonable demand from U.S. consumers for drinking water that is healthy and affordable, and doesn’t penalize the environment by adding more plastic waste to the country’s landfills. Now, for the first time these demands can be met, giving consumers access to truly clean tap water."

The purity cap is simple, aimed at domestic consumers: it fits into the top of most water bottles, simply refill from the tap and the water gets filtered before you drink it. Additionally, the system works without pressure and the filter discs can be made in any shape or size which means it would also work for a wide range of industrial and domestic applications.

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The added value to his gizmo is that it has the ability to wipe out water-borne illnesses such as E-coli and a number of tropical diseases such as sleeping sickness. His system removes contaminants like heavy metals, pesticides and inorganic chemicals. A full list of water contaminants is given by the EPA here.

Could this be the end of the bottled water scams? I sincerely hope so. A word on plastic bottles: every year, 2.7 billion tons of plastic is used worldwide to bottle water. Most water bottles are made from PET (polyethylene terephthalate), a plastic derived from crude-oil that accounts for about 0.25 percent of the world's annual oil consumption. Empty bottles are either incinerated, or dropped in waterways, or they are deposited in landfill sites. It is estimated to take between 450 and 1000 years for the bottles to degrade.

Aqua-Nu's unique, patented (apparently, there are 42 patents protecting his invention), ultra-high flow rate ceramic has application well beyond our European domestic water market. It is already selling its purity cap and purity jug to the US market, with some success. The company is presently seeking expressions of interest from aid and other organisations, about applying its technology to drinking water filtration schemes in less developed countries, where water-borne diseases are one of the leading causes of death, particularly among children.

Aqua-Nu is an innovator of water filtration systems and the creator of the Ultra-high Flow Rate Ceramic Filter, PurityCapsule, and other related products, including the PURITYCAP® and PURITY JUG. The company's proprietary technology has demonstrated superior filtration performance in independent laboratory testing versus existing consumer filtration products. Aqua-Nu is dedicated to providing clean, safe water at an affordable cost to individuals in both developed and developing countries. Based in Dundalk, Ireland, the company is currently forming partnerships around the world to market its advanced clean water ceramic filtration technology.

I have emailed his company for prices as I wouldn't mind getting his device, and will report in due course.

Originally posted to Patric Juillet on Tue Aug 30, 2011 at 03:16 PM PDT.

Also republished by Environmental Foodies.

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