Last September, Segway inventor Dean Kamen joined forces with Coca-Cola to try and bring water purifying technology to communities where access to clean drinking water is limited. If this partnership proves to be successful, it could add more than half a billion liters of clean drinking water to the global water supply every year.
The Slingshot machine is made up of technology that can boil and evaporate dirty water through a vapor compression distillation system. Whether it’s river water, ocean water, or raw sewage, this system will allow pure water to condense and collect at a rate of 10 gallons an hour, using less than 1 kilowatt of electricity. To demonstrate how well this actually works, Kamen drank his own urine after putting it through the system. That’s definitely an impressive way to sell a product.
There is only one problem with this new concept. It costs several hundred thousand dollars to build one machine. Kamen’s goal is to get the price down to $1,000-$2,000 per machine, which is where Coca-Cola comes in. According to Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO of the Coca-Cola Company, they are definitely “up to the challenge” and see some serious potential in the system.
While the soda company has the capability to invest and enhance the water purifying technology, and it has an very extensive product distribution system worldwide, it is still a pretty big deal to attempt to cut a product’s price by 90% or more. However, if it does succeed, then Coca-Cola will be able to meet its stated goal of replenishing 100% of the water it uses by 2020.
Do you think Kamen and Coca-Cola will be able to make it happen? How long do you think it will be before they develop an affordable and effective product for the hundreds of millions of people worldwide without regular access to clean water?
Image credit: Coca-Cola