Friday, 15 February 2013

Chemicals in water treatment?

A lot of water treatment systems require that chemicals are constantly being added to the treatment process to ensure optimal functionality of the machine, to deal with water impurities and finally to achieve clean drinking water. Why on earth would you want to drink water where you know that harmful chemicals have been used to prepare what you are drinking when there are much more ecological ways of producing drinking water?

What would you choose? Water treated with chemicals or naturally treated water:

For example a Reverse Osmosis machine will require various types of chemicals to maintain the membranes that the water passes through as impurities build up. The membranes begin to foul causing loss in the output quality and quantity, increases in rejection water levels (waste water) and reduces the overall performance of the system. So what is the solution to help maintain membranes? Chemicals...

Here are just a few examples of the chemicals that an R.O. machine would need to produce your clean water.

Different formulations of chlorine to ensure clean water. Yes, chlorine which can also be used in swimming pools to keep the bacteria away. You will clearly know the distinct smell of this when you come into contact with chlorinated water.

Coagulants and flocculants can increase prefiltration efficiency and help improve productivity in membrane systems.

Pretreatment designed to eliminate scale and reduce fouling in membrane systems, regardless of the feedwater source.

Different types of cleaning chemicals to ensure "optimal" performance of a R.O. unit.

Microbiological Control
Chemically induced control of bacterial growth and slime.

The Alternative - Chemical Free Solution

Yes - it is truly possible to provide drinking water without the need to use chemicals. You can read more about the Swiss Cleanwater Machines, and how they do not need chemicals here:

Monday, 28 January 2013

Water storage - Whats best for keeping water clean and drinkable?

Last week we looked at how the Swiss Cleanwater Kiosks can be used to set up stations for collecting clean water. The next challenge becomes how to maintain the provided drinking water in a clean state.

A "jerry can"

The jerry can is one of the most common ways of transporting water in third world countries, but unfortunately it is often polluted, or dirty. So the newly treated water from a water kiosk only remains fresh for a very short time. To solve this challenge we need to ensure that the flasks used are sanitized from within.

The Lifesaver Jerrycan may not be the most affordable solution costing GBP 167 for one can, something that will not be afforded by most of the people who need it. Nonetheless, it is a great concept that should ensure that no bacteria or virus come into the final drinking water. Watch the video below to see what the Lifesaver is about or see more here:

So what can we do instead? Clean current cans? That requires some common cleaning techniques that may require bleach or other chemicals that will remove common things such as algae from cans. If we are talking about a "soft" plastic bottle, then this should only be reused once or twice, but if it is a hard plastic bottle, then it can be reused again and again as long as it is cleaned. If you want to know how to clean your water can then read here:

The optimal water container for storing clean drinking water is heavy-duty, "food-grade" polyethylene containers. The containers are often blue and can contain up to 50 gallons of water. For dispensing, a small tap is often placed on the side of the barrel.

If you want more great tips on water storage then go to this site:

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Case: Disaster Management Water Treatment

The Swiss Cleanwater Machines are ideal for using during disaster management to ensure that clean water is distributed, ensuring that no pollutants or bacteria are spread amongst the people in the affected areas.

For example during the tsunami in Asia, thousands and thousands of plastic bottles of water are distributed amongst the people, and we often see images such as this:

Picture from

Imagine how much energy, oil and negative externalities there are in using this method of delivering clean water in disaster relief. Not only does it require tremendous transportation efforts, and planning, it also has a defined quantity dependent on delivery mechanisms.

120.000 half liter bottles take up quite a bit of space...

We are living in an age where technical innovations are changing the way we live yet we have not come up with a more elegant way of managing water in disaster situations.

Swiss Cleanwater Group propose a mobile solution that can be installed in under 60 seconds. It requires electricity (can be run on solar power / 150W only), and incoming water. The machine ensures that for example all of the below issues are treated:

Turbidity, Hardness, TDS, Pathogens, Odour, Taste, Copper, Iron, Manganese, Chlorides, Sulphates, Nitrates, Fluorides, Mercury, Arsenic, Cyanide, Lead, Zinc, Pesticides, Viruses, Bacteria, Selenium, Herbicides, Radioactivity, Cadmium and many more.

Case: Mobile Water Treatment of river water

Previously, we have established a few case scenarios for clean drinking water during disaster relief, where we have placed a unit within a car, and looks as follows:

The trailer model which is convenient in military applications

Then we evolved the idea into putting the machine onto a trailer where you could have more than one unit, and transport it with a car to a needy region in an urgency.

RFID and Water? 

We then thought more about how can we make the distribution process even more easy and less need for control using technology? The answer lies in RFID (Radio-frequency identification). The quick description of RFID is "is the use of a wireless non-contact system that uses radio-frequency electromagnetic fields to transfer data from a tag attached to an object, for the purposes of automatic identification and tracking."

The Oyster Card used for travelling in London

After having used an "Oyster Card" for travelling around London, which is an electronic ticket which can contain a period ticket, a day ticket, a monetary amount, we thought that these easily distributable, small, lightweight and easy to use card could be the golden ticket to an easy way of distributing water evenly amongst people in disaster ares.

Our Solution to Distributing Clean Drinking Water in Disaster Areas

The Swiss Cleanwater Kiosk can be positioned in strategic locations next to water sources where people may collect their clean drinking water.

The kiosk consists of Swiss Cleanwater technology that is used to distribute water when users place their water collection canisters within the dispensor rooms behind the metal doors that lift on successful use of the RFID card. The person has received a Swiss Cleanwater card which contains X amounts of water credits that can be used for collecting water at a kiosk as long as the kiosk is stationed during the disaster relief. When the card no longer contains any more credits the people can return and request a top up of their water credits which can be controlled from a central water management agency. This ensures even distribution of resources.

So now, we do not need to fly in numerous cargo planes full of bottled water, but instead strategically place a water kiosk and distribute water credit cards.

Disribution of RFID cards would evenly distribute water resources, in a flexible, easy to transport and manageable way.

The next discussion we will have is on ensuring that these people are using containers which are also free from bacteria and pollutants so that the cleanly dispensed drinking water is not contaminated.

This is however a good start towards a more efficient way of distributing clean drinking water during disaster management.

Monday, 21 January 2013

Photos from "Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently"

Here are just a few images from the event:  "Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently" at the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark on January 15th, 2012.

All credits and photos: Hasse Ferrold

PHOTO HASSE FERROLDWelcome and overview by Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency 

PHOTO HASSE FERROLD: Photo right-left: André Jol,EEA
Jacqueline McGlade, Executive Director, European Environment Agency 
Mariano Davies President & CEO 
Ursula Mathar, VP for Sustainability and Environmental Protection, BMW Group 
Kim Weis Hansen, CEO, Swiss Clean Water Group
Not on photo:Henrik Sønderup, Technical Manager, Rambøll


  PHOTO HASSE FERROLD: Kim Weis Hansen, CEO, Swiss Cleanwater Group

  PHOTO HASSE FERROLD: Kim Weis Hansen, CEO, Swiss Cleanwater Group

Friday, 18 January 2013

Recap: Swiss Cleanwater Group at "Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently"

Sustainable Water Treatment by Swiss Cleanwater Group

Kim Weis Hansen, CEO Swiss Cleanwater Group
15 January 2013

Swiss Cleanwater Group contributed with the more technological approach towards a solution that could help provide millions with clean drinking water, whilst not needing vast amounts of chemicals or energy.

From the previous presentations at the seminar, it was clear that solutions such as desalination and reverse osmosis were frequently used, not by free will, but more because of lacking alternatives.

Kim Weis Hansen, CEO. Photos: Hasse Ferrold

Below you can see the slides of the time-limited 15 minute presentation:

We cannot survive without water... food we can do without for a couple of weeks, but water is something we must have.

There are no substitutes for water, you cannot switch water with cola or something different. Water is a resource.

Its not only us humans that need QUALITY water - its also so many other things that make everything in a world function.

We have less and less access to clean drinking water due to all types of water pollution.

If this is the total water supply....

Then less than this droplet is what we can drink.

...and these factors are just an eye-opener to why water problems are becoming bigger.

In our area in San Diego, the water prices have risen by 65%!!! We should think we were dealing with oil...

Other water treatment uses too many chemicals and too much energy.

Here are some of the common systems on the market that are used for water treatment.

We wanted to create a solution that could fill the gap of an environmentally friendly solution.

Output-wise this is where we would place the Swiss Cleanwater Machine.

These are just some of the benefits of Swiss Cleanwater Machines - see all here:

A quick overview of one of the three available machines.

This is what our core competency is.

One of our NGO cases from Ethiopia

A mobile water treatment case from Germany. See here for Mobile Water Treatment.

Its a global challenge we all need to face.

This is one of our patented water kiosks.

...perfect for disaster water treatment, and can be powered by solar power.

Remember the name ;-) we are here to stay...

You want to know more or find out how you can get clean water?

The objective of the presentation was to show the various stakeholders present that it is possible to provide clean drinking water, through a new way of treating water.

The presentation did not go into technical details as this was not the right audience for that, if you are looking for a deeper explanation of how a Swiss Cleanwater Machine works, then you can read about it here:

You can also see a short video clip explanation on that page.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Recap: Flood risk assessment in urban areas and how to adapt

Today we will recap the presentation by Rambøll at the event "Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently", 15 January 2012.

Rambøll - Flood risk assessment in urban areas and how to adapt
by Henrik Sønderup

Rambøll have been doing a lot of interesting work and research on flood risk assessment after the heavy rains in Denmark on July 2nd, 2011.

Looking at various parameters Rambøll has been able to create an assessment of which areas of Frederiksberg, in Copenhagen, would require the most attention in case such floods repeated itself.
Basically this is calculating estimated annual costs due to flooding - and what is the likelihood of flooding in a specific location and what are the costs?

The first part of the question is easy for engineers to assess and answer, yet the second part of the question takes into account not only the financial costs of flooding but also the human costs. Damage costs are usually available from the insurance companies, or local authorities.

EUs flooding directive - climate adaption plans is established "to assess if all water courses and coast lines are at risk from flooding, to map the flood extent and assets and humans at risk in these areas and to take adequate and coordinated measures to reduce this flood risk."

By using integrated modelling to assess the risk of flooding Rambøll is able to make justifiable claims to where resources should be put to use in the case of a disaster. However, what are the socioeconomic consequences of floods? This can be examined on various levels; on a national level, on a city level even down to an individual business.

To round off the presentation, the concept of adapting urbanization to prepare for flooding, looked at how open spaces and recreational areas could become basins for potential flood water, and how old rivers such as "Ladegaards Å" which runs underground through Frederiksberg can be used to divert flood waters efficiently.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Review of the event: Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently

Swiss Cleanwater Group participated at the event entitled "Planning for the future: how to use our water resources more efficiently" organized by the British Chamber of Commerce in Denmark and the European Environment agency.

Different stakeholders presented their viewpoints on how we will need to deal with relevant water issues in the coming years.

Over the next couple of days we will bring a recap of the various presentations, today:

BMW Group: Corporate Sustainability and Water Management

Ursula Mathar, VP for Sustainability and
Environmental Protection, BMW Group

Ursula Mathar
, VP for Sustainability and Environmental Protection, BMW Group discussed the driving factors to achieve sustainable mobility in the future. For BMW the 6 key factors that were focused on in their sustainability efforts were:
  • Environment
  • Urbanization
  • Politics and Regulations
  • Economic
  • Culture
  • Customer Expectations
From BMWs point of view, sustainability comes with being a premium brand. It is being driven not only by the first five factors above, but also customer expectations. On all levels sustainability is and integral part of the corporate number one strategy.

Ursula Mathar, then discussed "How can sustainability create innovation so we take it to the next level?". A very interesting viewpoint that places sustainability as a catalyst for creating innovation, and not innovation to create sustainability.

At the BMW Group there are 17 production sites globally - all of which are ISO14001 certified. Focusing on the water aspect of sustainability, BMW looks at how they can reduce water usage and how they process wastewater. At their plant in Landshut, they have implemented a new way of preparing plastics using O2 snow, rather than water and have "closed the circuit" so to say and are successfully reusing water.

At BMW, water consumption has fallen by 30% over the last 5 years per vehicle produced. That is a step in the right direction. At BMW the main water usage has come from the paint shop, which now has more effective ways of using water.