Helping purify water in deprived areas of Chile
The lack of efficient pricing in water has stifled innovation. Most people understandably view clean water as a basic right, rather than a market-driven product. As a result, many of us pay far less for water than it actually costs, at rates often subsidized by the state. While this might create a short-term benefit in creating more equitable sharing of water resources, it creates a long-term problem by discouraging new technologies from coming to market. New, low cost ways of purifying large amounts of water are crucial to the survival of the millions of people who don't have access to clean and safe water.
A low-cost purifier has been developed to transform the lives of those living with water pollution.
Contaminated water is pressurized and then pumped into a 32cm-long tube, accelerated to 320m/s, which transforms the water into a liquid-and-gas steam. A 5,000-volt electrical field ionizes it, transforming it briefly into plasma and then the micro-organisms are destroyed. Finally, the plasma is decelerated and returned to water. The whole process takes just a few milliseconds.