British student invents new way of purifying water without electricity

A British student has invented a new device that will convert contaminated water into safe drinking water. Oxfordshire-based student James Bartlett designed an inexpensive and simple chlorination unit that functions without electricity and can be manufactured for less than $3.

The chlorination unit, named BlueDrop, works by harnessing the Venturi effect, which is used in carburetors to pull gasoline into an engine’s air stream. In Bartlett’s design, water passing through a tube will take in chlorine, which kills or inactivates pathogenic bacteria and viruses that are commonly found in contaminated water supplies. Adding chlorine is one of the cheapest and safest ways of disinfecting contaminated water.

The BlueDrop, designed by Bartlett while studying Industrial Design at Brunel University, was runner-up in the Xerox Innovation Award, presented to Student inventors.

More than 1.5 billion people around the globe do not have access to safe drinking water, anddiseases associated with contaminated drinking water kill more than 25,000 people per day — more than 9 million each year — around the world, according to the World Health Organization.

Chlorination has been credited with major reductions of cholera and typhoid in the developed world.

For more information about the public health benefits of chlorinated water, please visit our website.

(Joan Rose, PhD, is the Homer Nowlin Chair in Water Research at Michigan State University and a member of the Water Quality & Health Council.)