Pee Filter Runs on Poo: Dean Kamen Offers Solution to Water Needs


Photo via Red Ferret

How I didn’t hear about this sooner, I’ll never know. Dean Kamen, inventor of the Segway, went into water filtration awhile back.

Apparently this year he has unveiled the Slingshot, a filtration system for turning any water-containing liquid, including pee, into drinkable water. Not only that, but it can be run on cow poo.

Sound too good to be true? Maybe it is, or maybe Kamen doesn’t want it to take a giant belly flop like the Segway.

Read on for some interesting details about this product, and watch a video of Kamen on the Colbert Report.The machine works by using vapor compression distillation. Any liquid, from sea water to mud puddles, can be run through the machine and come out as distilled, drinkable water. No filter is required, and since it runs on cow dung, it can be used in many rural areas and developing countries. Plus, it generates electricity as a byproduct.

Some cool key points:


It is designed to supply a village with 1,000 liters/day of clean water. (Colbert Report)

You can use any water source -- ocean, puddle, chemical waste site, hexavalent chrome, arsenic, poison, 50 gallon drum of urine. (Colbert Report)

The Slingshot (as its called) can use half the waste heat (450 watts) from a sterling engine electrical generator (prototype also being designed by Kamen's company) to boil its water. (TED)

The prototype slingshot was hand-built for $100K. The goal is to get production units down to $1,000 to $2,000. (CNN)

The sterling engine, used as an electrical generator, can produce about 200 watts of power (it will never be more then 20 percent efficient) and 800 watts of waste heat (the waste heat that slingshot uses). TED

The sterling engine can run on anything that burns, propane or even cow dung. (CNN)

Kamen has been talking about this for several years now, and it is starting to bubble up to the surface of the main stream. An interview on the Colbert Report helps, of course.

Eventually, we’ll all be able to get one for somewhere between $1,000 and $2,000...for those of us feeling Water World-y. But for now, Kamen is working with village leaders to get thousands of these on the ground and working, I suppose to prove that it isn’t, in fact, too good to be true.

Via Wired

More on Pee-ish Water Filtration:
P is for Phosphorus (As Well As Human Urine)
Drinkpee: Waste = Food DIY Kit and Exhibition on Now in NYC
Recycling Water for Drinking
Feedback Exhibit Merges Ecological Tech and Art

Tags: Developing Nations | Electricity | Electronics | Energy Efficiency

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