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Plastic Bag Filters Water on the Cheap

Posted June 23, 2016 1:39 PM by HUSH

Clean drinking water is an issue no matter where you live. In the U.S., news headlines have been filled with stories of lead, PFOA and other contaminants. Yet the fact remains that the U.S. has exceptionally high quality drinking water, and contaminated tap water reports are relatively rare. Globally, water quality varies considerably, and the WHO estimates that 10% of the global population doesn’t have easy access to clean, potable water.

The country of Singapore is a nation with a high quality water supply. A WHO estimate states that 100% of Signaporeans have access to improved water sources and sanitation. So four young students who developed the ROAM Lite, an innovative water sanitizing device, hope to help the world with their new invention.

ROAM Lite is a 400 gram plastic bag with a ceramic membrane that processes up to 10 liters of dirty water in an hour, and can provide daily water for a household of up to seven people. The membrane has a pore size of .5 micron. At just $25 and about the size of a backpack, ROAM Lite has already proved itself during natural disasters in Myanmar and Malaysia. Each ROAM Lite has an expected lifespan of three years.

ROAM Lite is a portable version of ROAM Plus. If ROAM Lite is the size of a backpack, ROAM Plus is about the size of a suitcase. But the ROAM Plus can supply water to an entire village for the day, processing 250 liters of water per hour. ROAM Plus uses hollow-fiber filtration with pores of just .002 microns. WateROAM also offers its WR Ultrafiltration system, which also uses a hollow-fiber filter, but can process 800 liters per hour and is optimal for farms or schools. The ROAM Plus and WR Ultrafiltration are much more expensive, with the former going for $1,500, and the latter not having a listed price.

As of now, these water filters can’t filter out taste, chemicals or heavy metals, which limits their overall utility. The next filter model, which will be able to remove contaminants such as arsenic, is expected to be ready in six months time.

WaterROAM works closely with non-government organizations to deliver its filter technologies. WateROAM is a young upstart of four students from National University of Singapore. The company has high hopes for ROAM Lite, and few other filtration technologies are as portable, easy, cheap, or effective.

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Re: Plastic Bag Filters Water on the Cheap

06/23/2016 3:05 PM

These are the kinds of innovations -- small, inexpensive things that address a major need -- that make me happy. The local public radio station gives away solar-powered lights that can also charge a cell phone; these are inexpensive ($30 or so), easy to transport, and a lifesaver where a disaster has wiped out power ... or there's no power to begin with. I've seen compact cookstoves that burn just about anything that's handy, another boon in parts of the world that otherwise would go without.

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Re: Plastic Bag Filters Water on the Cheap

06/23/2016 7:44 PM
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