How Solar Power Could Provide Clean Drinking Water
Energy accessibility is at the forefront of many governments and companies’ minds are work is underway to bring energy to those without. One company, Oregon’s Puralytics, is using that energy to help bring clean drinking water to third-world countries.
The company gained international attention several years ago with its SolarBag, a device that used solar energy to clean small amounts of contaminated water, making it safe to drink. Now, with the SolarBag in use in 60 countries worldwide, Puralytics is looking to go bigger.
“The question was: How big could we make it, and could we treat the water source?” Puralytics CEO Mark Owen told DJC Oregon
Its newest product, the LilyPad, is a larger version of the SolarBag that can be used to clean bigger bodies of water. While they hope to use the LilyPad to clean water in impoverished countries and disaster areas, it also has commercial and agricultural uses as well.
“There’s been tremendous interest from the (construction) industry,” Owen said. “We’re looking at its potential to clean stormwater, to clean water used on farms for crops.”
Puralytics has already won several awards for its efforts, including the grand prize for best clean technology business at the 2010 CleanTech Open. Since its inception, the company has been searching for innovative new ways to purify water using renewable sources.
With a new technology such as this, finding funding can often be difficult. However, the company is getting help from Oregon BEST, which operates in a similar fashion to a university research fund. The company has also partnered with Oregon State University conduct research and testing on the product to improve it.
Preliminary research has already been conducted and the project has $94,000 of funding from Oregon BEST in the pipeline.
Owen is hopeful the testing will yield positive results, as he is anxious to implement the product in the commercial marketplace.
“One of the challenges is that you need third-party certification and a qualified lab to talk about results,” Owen said. “The industry really wants to see that. This is going to help us cross that gap for internal testing to formal field training with a well-monitored application in a public setting. It will give us the (real world) data. That’s essential.”
More information about the LilyPad can be found here.
All but two UK regions failing on school energy efficiency
Most schools are still "treading water" on implementing energy efficient technology, according to new analysis of Government data from eLight.
Yorkshire & the Humber and the North East are the only regions where schools have collectively reduced how much they spend on energy per pupil, cutting expenditure by 4.4% and 0.9% respectively. Every other region of England increased its average energy expenditure per pupil, with schools in Inner London doing so by as much as 23.5%.
According to The Carbon Trust, energy bills in UK schools amount to £543 million per year, with 50% of a school’s total electricity cost being lighting. If every school in the UK implemented any type of energy efficient technology, over £100 million could be saved each year.
Harvey Sinclair, CEO of eEnergy, eLight’s parent company, said the figures demonstrate an uncomfortable truth for the education sector – namely that most schools are still treading water on the implementation of energy efficient technology. Energy efficiency could make a huge difference to meeting net zero ambitions, but most schools are still lagging behind.
“The solutions exist, but they are not being deployed fast enough," he said. "For example, we’ve made great progress in upgrading schools to energy-efficient LED lighting, but with 80% of schools yet to make the switch, there’s an enormous opportunity to make a collective reduction in carbon footprint and save a lot of money on energy bills. Our model means the entire project is financed, doesn’t require any upfront expenditure, and repayments are more than covered by the energy savings made."
He said while it has worked with over 300 schools, most are still far too slow to commit. "We are urging them to act with greater urgency because climate change won’t wait, and the need for action gets more pressing every year. The education sector has an important part to play in that and pupils around the country expect their schools to do so – there is still a huge job to be done."
North Yorkshire County Council is benefiting from the Public Sector Decarbonisation Scheme, which has so far awarded nearly £1bn for energy efficiency and heat decarbonisation projects around the country, and Craven schools has reportedly made a successful £2m bid (click here).
The Department for Education has issued 13 tips for reducing energy and water use in schools.