Though water is still often collected from taps in many places, as an estimated 1600 people die daily across the country from contaminated water supplies, the market for purified bottled water is growing. Water jugs waiting to be filled, photo by: McKay Savage.
Here’s a market synergy you might not have seen coming: Bottling purified waste water from manufacturing hydrogen fuel cells and selling it at fuel stations. That’s just what Indian firm Bharat Petroleum has indicated it will being doing. Shareholders approved the bottled water business earlier in the summer, and the Mumbai-based company says it has tentative plans to build a 1000 MW hydrogen fuel cell plant within the next three to five years (Cleantech). So, how much purified water will it be able to produce?
The company says that from every 1000 MW of energy from the hydrogen fuel cells it will be able to produce 1 million tonnes of water. This would allow Bharat Petroleum to break into the $312 million Indian bottled water market, an industry which is growing at 10-25% annually.
How About Cleaning Up Tap Water?
Considering the waste that is generated from bottled water, perhaps a better solution to reducing the number of deaths from contaminated water in India is actually doing something to improve the cleanliness of tap water, like these Ashoka Changemakers are doing, or those organizations taking part in the Clinton Global Initiative Water and Sanitation Mega-Commitment are doing.