Promising Water Technologies For Blog Action Day

 In Cleantech

Today is Blog Action Day.  It’s a day when thousands of bloggers participate in a global conversation around a single, worldwide issue. This year’s topic is the lack of access to sanitized water.  Nearly one billion people across the world do not have this access.  On top of that, each year nearly 3.5 billion die from water-illness diseases (84% of those are children). states that this is not an issue of scarcity, but strictly of access.

In the world of Cleantech, technology that promotes the protection, purification and sustainable use of water is on the horizon as “the next big thing.” Yet, venture capital investment in water technologies still lags behind other cleantech investments like solar, biofuel and electric cars.  This post by Scott James at Blue Living Ideas gives a good synopsis of the conundrum, a combination of  finding a technology with a large enough market potential, water’s localized character, and/or the potential for future, yet unknown government regulations.  But that doesn’t mean promising water technologies aren’t out there.

Technica client, NanoLogix is collaborating the the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to design a rapid diagnostic method to detect bacterial threats, including E.coli and Cryptosporidium in drinking and source water, with the goal of significantly reduced test times from those achievable with current tests.

At Standford University, researchers are developing a cotton nanotube filter that kills bacteria with electrical fields but uses just 20 percent of the power required by pressure-driven filters. It could lead to a simple and inexpensive method of cleaning water. Read more in this Tech Review article by Katherine Bourzac.

The Watermill, invented by Element Four’s founder Jonathan Ritchey makes use of the moisture in outdoor air and converts it into nearly 13 quarts of fresh water every day.  Resembling a futuristic air conditioner, if offers the ability to condense, filter and sterilize water for about 3 cents per quart. Read more from The Observer’s Ed Pilkington.

The multi-award winning Water Hog is a modular rainwater storage system with slim profiles, so water can be stored at each downspout and used locally. A single large cistern requires reticulated pipework linking all the downspouts to the tank and then back to the irrigated areas, often involving expensive installation and maintenance, not to mention garden replanting. The HOG system avoids such installation and maintenance costs with its smart, modular, slim design.

Enova Water is an early stage start-up, with technology out of Caltech, that has developed a one-time use product that takes advantage of adsorption filter media to selectively remove target contaminants including arsenic, selenium, chromium, to name a few.  Once the contaminant removal capacity is exhausted, the used filter waste is dried to 5% of the original volume for environmentally friendly disposal.  Enova Water was a semifinalist in this year’s 2010 Cleantech Open.

For more on the future of water technologies attend this event hosted by MIT/Stanford Venture Lab and Imagine H2O, Blue Tech: Is Water’s Dry Spell Over? Tuesday October 19th at 6:00pm in Palo Alto, CA.