Updated: October 25, 2017
Too much of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Engineer Michael Pritchard did something about it — inventing the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds. An amazing demo from TEDGlobal 2009.
With cutting-edge nanotechnology, Michael Pritchard’s Lifesaver water-purification bottle could revolutionize water-delivery systems in disaster-stricken areas around the globe.
During the twin tragedies of the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, Ipswich water-treatment expert Michael Pritchard winced helplessly at televised coverage of throngs of refugees waiting for days for a simple drink of clean water. Stricken by the chronic failure of aid agencies to surmount this basic challenge, Pritchard decided to do something about it.
Using a non-chemical nano-filtration hollow fibre membrane with 15 nanometre pores (it is designed to block viruses), the Lifesaver bottle can make the most revolting swamp water drinkable in seconds. Better still, a single long-lasting filter can clean 6,000 litres of water. Given the astronomical cost of shipping water to disaster areas, Pritchard’s Lifesaver bottle could turn traditional aid models on their heads.