STEPHAN AUGUSTIN: THE WATERCONE: CLEANING WATER WITH SUNSHINE
Invented by the German industrial designer Stephan Augustin, and taking its shape after a typical African Tajin, the Watercone ® is a device that can be used to purify salt seawater or brackish water by way of sunshine and solar distillation: mobile, lightweight, easy-to-use and portable.
According to UNICEF every day 5000 children die as a result of diarrhea caused by drinking unsafe water, the vast majority in developing countries. Of these developing countries, there are at least 50 worldwide that can boast a warm climate and a significant amount of sea- or coastline. A great deal of their population, hundreds of millions, lives in nearest proximity to water. But unfortunately they cannot drink it or use it for agriculture, because it is salt water.
The WATERCONE ® is as simple as it comes. One needs no training to understand how it works. It is mobile, lightweight, easy-to-use and portable, be it that it only functions properly outdoors and in warm and sunny conditions. The device consists of a clear plastic cone that is 100% recyclable, and a black basin in recycled polycarbonate. When salt or brackish water is poured in the basin, solar radiation starts to heat the air and water inside, whereas the cone creates an airtight seal – its top equipped with a cap similar to that of a pop bottle, insuring that the water is not lost to the atmosphere. The evaporated water condenses with a 40% effectiveness degree on the side of the cone and trickles down to the circular trough at the cone’s base. Once the cone’s cap unscrewed, the clean water can be drained into a container for drinking.
The WATERCONE ® is sold in retail for about 60 Euro. With the price of a bottle of water being 0.40 Eurocent it can pay for itself in about 5 months. With up to 1,5 liters in 24 hours it can cover a child’s daily need of freshwater. Large families, hamlets, villages could all experience dramatically improved quality of life starting from as little as a dozen WATERCONES ® set up close by the sea, MageWater Management, that commercializes the product, the only limitation being that it only functions properly outdoors and in warm and sunny conditions. The company doesn’t really have a problem with the small produce and size of each cone, on the contrary: “Many peripheral, de-centralized small units will ensure a better supply of freshwater than one central big generator. If the big one fails, there is no water generation for anyone. If a small one fails, the other ones still keep on working.“ (mb) (2002-ONGOING) www.watercones.com