Bottle makes dirty water drinkable; ideal for post diaster relief

Published 17 September 2007

A bottle which purifies even the dirtiest water — it uses filter which cuts out anything longer than 15 nanometres, which means that viruses are filtered out — is ideal for post-disaster relief, soldiers in the field

Here is a clever and useful invention which could, litterally, save lives. It is a bottle which cleans and purifies the water poured into it, and could be ideal for rushing water to disaster-hit regions. Michael Pritchard, an Ipswich-based businessman, invented the £190 bottle which, he hopes, would make it easier to sustain refugees and evacuees in disaster regions where access to clean drinking water is vital. The Daily Telegraph’s Chritopher Hope writes that the U.K. military has already warmed up to his idea: Four hours after Pritchard demonstrated his new Life Saver bottle at the DESi defense show in London last week, he sold out his entire 1,000 stock. “I am bowled over,” he said. Military chiefs are excited because the bottles, which can distill either 4,000 liters or 6,000 liters without changing the filter, will have huge benefits for soldiers who dislike drinking iodine-flavoured water. In July a protype of the bottle was voted “Best Technological Development” at the Soldier Technology conference.

Pritchard runs a water treatment business in Ipswich, and he says he was inspired after watching coverage of the tsunami in south-east Asia on Boxing Day 2004 and of Hurricane Katrina in Louisiana the following year. He was amazed to see refugees waiting for days to get any fresh water. He said: “Something had to be done. It took me a little while and some very frustrating prototypes but eventually I did it.” Conventional filters can cut out bacteria measuring more than 200 nanometres but not viruses, which typically are 25 nanometres long. Pritchard’s bottle can clean up any water — including faecal matter — using a filter which cuts out anything longer than 15 nanometres. This is important, becasue it means that viruses can be filtered out without the use of chemicals.