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Dean Kamen's Miracle Water Purifier
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- - e r i k - -
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May 7, 2008, 04:27 AM
 
Were I the only one to watch Colbert - for the first time on TV - show off Dean Kamen's (yes, of Segway notoriety) Water Purifier (as first mentioned in TIME's 2003 coolest inventions) the other week? I'm fascinated by the claims - water from ANYTHING and a 1000 litres a day. All from waste energy.

From the TIME article:
Originally Posted by TIME
What it does is simple. A few years ago, Kamen was working on an electric generator for use in underdeveloped villages when he noticed that it produced about 1,000 watts of waste heat. Kamen decided to try to use that heat to make clean water. There are 6,000 deaths from contaminated water every day, according to the U.N., and safe water is one of the world's more urgent problems. Kamen's device uses that extra heat to distill water—boil it and condense it.

Nothing new about that— Kamen has invented lots of things, but he didn't invent distillation. The trick is to do it using as little energy as possible. However, 1,000 watts of heat won't boil much water, so Kamen developed a closed system, powered by whatever fuel is at hand, that traps the energy released when the boiled water vapor recondenses. Essentially, he's recycling heat. Result: a low-power, low-maintenance device that will cost around $1,000 to manufacture and makes 10 gal. of drinkable water an hour.
From the video he claims:
- No filters (ie no replacements)
- 1000 litres per day

From CNN article:
Originally Posted by CNN
"The electric generator is powered by an easily-obtained local fuel: cow dung. Each machine continuously outputs a kilowatt of electricity. That may not sound like much, but it is enough to light 70 energy-efficient bulbs. As Kamen puts it, "If you judiciously use a kilowatt, each villager can have a nighttime."
Huge discussion of it over at Gizmodo (with video of the invention from the Colbert Report):
Colbert: First Vid of Dean Kamen's Miracle Water Distiller

Of which one of the comments I wholeheartedly agree with:
Originally Posted by Xavoc
The man is an inventor, and he honestly tries to build products that are helpful to people and not just some gimmick. While a lot of people scoff at segways, he had a vision of people using them in place of cars for short trips around town. Unfortunately the low pricepoint he was aiming for never materialized.
( Last edited by - - e r i k - -; May 7, 2008 at 05:01 AM. )

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Visnaut
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May 7, 2008, 09:13 PM
 
I've heard about this before, and I think it's a really great idea. My hope is that these machines are easily serviceable, and that the price will actually come down to the price he claims it will, unlike the Segway.

The world needs more inventions like this, and the programs to put them into the hands of those who need them the most. Not OLPCs or other bullshit pie-in-the-sky programs that do nothing to solve the most basic needs of the world's poorest.
     
turtle777
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May 7, 2008, 09:25 PM
 
I couldn't find any information on how much energy it consumes. That's key if you want this to be commercially successful in places other than the western world.

-t
     
Laminar
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May 7, 2008, 09:29 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I couldn't find any information on how much energy it consumes.
Why does that matter?

Originally Posted by CNN
"The electric generator is powered by an easily-obtained local fuel: cow dung.
     
subego
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May 7, 2008, 09:32 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I couldn't find any information on how much energy it consumes. That's key if you want this to be commercially successful in places other than the western world.

-t

I get the impression from what's quoted that the answer to this question is 1000 watts of waste heat.
     
- - e r i k - -  (op)
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May 7, 2008, 10:06 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post
I couldn't find any information on how much energy it consumes. That's key if you want this to be commercially successful in places other than the western world.
From NEWSWEEK:
Dubbed the Slingshot, Kamen's washing-machine-size device produces 10 gallons of clean water an hour on 500 watts of electricity. It uses heat to distill water—boil it, condense it and recycle the energy. The heat that it uses is captured from a new type of generator that, you guessed it, Kamen invented.
It's based on a sterling engine (of course).

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turtle777
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May 7, 2008, 10:14 PM
 
Originally Posted by Laminar View Post
Why does that matter?
Well, there has been quite a bit of mis-information in the past.

Kamen invented TWO separate machines: one that cleans water, and a SECOND ONE that produces energy (sterling generator). It's NOT two functions in ONE machine.

Slingshot Water Purifier And Sterling Generator: Gadgets With A Green Tinge - Ecofriend

-t
     
- - e r i k - -  (op)
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May 7, 2008, 10:19 PM
 
Water purifiers or distillers are nothing new. The energy efficiency of his generator combined with it is what is the real news here. For an entry fee of $2000-$4000 a whole village can now have pure water. This is a major step forward in providing the basics so that people can help themselves instead of relying on endless charity.

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turtle777
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May 7, 2008, 10:24 PM
 
None of it is new, except the high efficiency of these new machines.

THAT, and the comparatively low price is what makes them special

-t
     
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May 7, 2008, 10:25 PM
 
Good job repeating what I just said there.

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Eriamjh
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May 7, 2008, 10:26 PM
 
Is this the same guy who invented the Segway? That was a winner...

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May 7, 2008, 10:28 PM
 
Originally Posted by Eriamjh View Post
Is this the same guy who invented the Segway? That was a winner...
Good job reading the original post there.

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LegendaryPinkOx
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May 7, 2008, 11:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by - - e r i k - - View Post
Good job reading the original post there.
Good Job




I like this idea. We just need to get a bunch of these, put em on the coast and start a company that sells bottled water, and bags of salt too.
are you lightfooted?
     
Laminar
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May 7, 2008, 11:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by - - e r i k - - View Post
Good job reading the original post there.
haha...MacNN's in rare form tonight.
     
turtle777
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May 8, 2008, 12:18 AM
 
Originally Posted by - - e r i k - - View Post
Good job repeating what I just said there.
Ah well, call it d/p.

-t
     
   
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