On a journey to India as a design scholar, Dutch product designer Olivier de Gruijter observed the ubiquity of jerricans (typically known as jerry cans), plastic or steel containers used to lug water from rivers or wells by the tens of millions of individuals world wide who don’t have entry to faucet water at house. The water these cans are stuffed with is usually contaminated—and separate water filters might be troublesome to use. De Gruijter questioned whether or not it could be attainable to add a small water filter straight to the can.
Jerry, the design he created in response, is a easy faucet that attaches to a jerrican, filtering water every time somebody pumps. “Many water filter programs are advanced to preserve,” de Gruijter says, explaining that different filters usually clog and have to be disassembled for cleansing. “We created a system that cleans itself robotically with each pump stroke.”
When somebody pumps the can and water flows into a cup, a small quantity of water concurrently flows backward via the filter to clear it. The design additionally makes it simpler to get water out of the can. As a substitute of tipping the heavy can over a glass—and doubtlessly spilling a few of the water that somebody could have walked miles to gather—they’ll simply push down on the faucet.
The faucet sends water via two filters, which eradicate greater than 99.999% of micro organism and parasites and greater than 99.9% of viruses, together with the bigger particles of grime and sand that make water look soiled. When the can is sort of empty, the pump stops working, and the contaminants which have been filtered out, together with the ultimate dregs of water, might be dumped. The filter can clear round 10,000 liters of water earlier than it wants to get replaced, or sufficient to final a household a few years. The necessity is obvious: In accordance to the World Well being Group, contaminated ingesting water kills practically half a million folks annually, most of whom are kids below the age of 5. Round 785 million folks presently lack entry to clear ingesting water.
As a result of jerricans are already extensively in use, the product is simpler to ship than another options. As a substitute of delivering cumbersome new units, it’s attainable to ship solely a small attachment. The filter can be designed to be self-explanatory for customers. On a small trial in Ethiopia, de Gruijter handed out prototypes to households with none instructions.
“Individuals got one of many jerrican filters with none clarification—simply type of, ‘good luck,’ to see how they work,” he says. “And every of the individuals was in a position to set up it appropriately, get a glass of water, and, by doing so, preserve the filter, all inside 30 seconds.”
De Gruijter’s startup, known as Forthemany, is testing extra prototypes in a refugee camp in Iraq. Refugees within the camp typically gather soiled water from a river. Even when water comes from a filter within the camp, if somebody’s jerrican itself is stuffed with micro organism, clear water can then develop into contaminated because it sits within the can. For the reason that filter purifies the water at every use, it’s safer. In that pilot, the startup’s designers are on the lookout for suggestions from customers to make ultimate tweaks within the design.
De Gruijter hopes that Forthemany will start promoting the units inside 12 to 18 months. The filter is designed to be as reasonably priced as attainable, however as a result of prospects will likely be a few of the poorest folks on the planet, the corporate could companion with microfinance organizations that may provide folks residing in poverty tiny loans to purchase helpful merchandise like photo voltaic panels or water filters. In refugee camps or catastrophe zones, nonprofits could assist foot the invoice for the filters.
De Gruijter, whose firm is looking for collaborators, hopes to carry the units to 1 million folks within the subsequent 5 years. “The water disaster is large,” he says. “There are such a lot of nations under the equator, in Africa and Asia and South America, the place a giant a part of the inhabitants doesn’t have entry to clear and secure ingesting water. It’s a very widespread downside.”