Question & Answer Plasma Water Sanitation System

8 January, 2018

Access to potable water is one of the most complex humanitarian problems; the lack of it has direct impact in the multiplication of poverty in the world. The basic consumption of clean water and hygiene are fundamental for the health of children, families and communities, preventing the spread of diseases and generating favorable conditions for human development. (WHO/UNICEF, 2017).

In spite of efforts, there are still 844 million people lacking basic potable water service (WHO 2017), a number that makes evident the unstoppable massification of the problem. Added to this, it is estimated that by 2030, close to half of the world’s population will live in severely water stressed areas (UN), increasing the risk of sociopolitical conflicts and impacting the most vulnerable people.

This is the reason we believe we need to link technological and digital development to resolve the increasing water problems. These are the most common questions when we present our technology:

What is the Plasma Water Sanitation System (PWSS) technology?

Since Reverse Osmosis developed 55 years ago, there had not been another disruptive water technology invention.

Our PWSS technology eliminates virus and bacteria through the temporary transformation of a continuous flow of contaminated water into non-thermal plasma. The exposure of water to plasma eliminates microorganisms transforming it to safe and potable water suitable for human consumption. Other contaminants present in the water are removed through additional complementary treatment steps. Each technical solution is tailored to the source water profile and applicable water regulation; it is a flexible solution that is tailored to the needs of each location.

Disruptive Innovation requires early involvement and investment. The development efforts made by AIC Technologies have reduced the electrical consumption times 93% since the first prototypes.

What has been the technical evolution of PWSS?

PWSS is not the product of scientific research directed to a social application. This technology was conceptualized from its inception as an adequate solution for the water resource problems impacting the poorest population; it has differentiating attributes to assure scalability and quick implementation.

The PWSS Camp Unit is a distributed solution that does not require large infrastructure investment to be implemented in the short term. This is not by chance; our Integrated Objectives Model has influenced the development of these applications of the technology as it allows technical innovation and social innovation to interact.

After pilot programs in the San José de Cerrillos underserved community, as well as in 5 other vulnerable communities in Chile, the technology was optimized resulting in products that today are standard to produce safe water suitable for human consumption. The technical evolution has been focused in reducing the energy consumption, improve the stability of the plasma and improving the equipment robustness while maintaining throughput and efficacy. All this with the final goal of reducing the cost and thereby accelerating its growth.

In what context is PWSS applicable?

The water access problem can present itself in various forms, demanding solutions tailored to each situation. Traditional solutions, intensive in infrastructure, are of value in densely populated areas, due to the concertation of the population and the reach they can achieve. In areas of medium to low population densities – rural or peri-urban areas- the cost of a traditional solution increases due to the population dispersion and lack of physical connectivity reducing the value of the social investment. The fundamental difference of our technology is that it is a distributed solution that can be quickly installed and is easy to operate and maintain. This allows the generation of immediate impact through the convergence of technological and social innovation, assuring that the technologies reach sooner to those who need it most.

How much water is sanitized by the PWSS technology?

Our product sanitizes 4,800 liters per day, enough to provide safe water up to 240 people at low cost and with easy operation and maintenance – based on 20 liters per day per person. They also integrate connectivity and telemetry that allows traceability and transparency of the impact generated.

Do you sell the PWSS technology?

We are interested in PWSS to become a massive solution; however, we have self-imposed a model that will assure the technology reaches first those who need it most. At this time, we do not sell our products in the traditional market, they are only distributed through social projects or programs that assure high impact in the quality of life of the poorest. In a world filled with technology and knowledge, we want to demonstrate that we can change the acceleration of the fight against poverty.

Why is the solution only delivered through social programs?

The world is experiencing impressive scientific and technological advancements, we are at the start of the 4th industrial revolution, however, if we do not change how we operate, we will obtain the same results: the life of the poor will not change. The poorest should not have to access technology when it is obsolete.

It has been 7 years since we installed the first functional prototype of PWSS in the San José de Cerrillos settlement in Chile, demonstrating that it is possible, necessary and urgent to connect technology with poverty.

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