Colorado entrepreneur modifies GE membrane water treatment plant to use solar for use in developing countries

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From (Marc Gunther):

Jack Barker and his wife, Carmen, have been in the water business for years, providing maintenance and support to small water systems in Colorado. “It’s always been a passion of mine, drinking water,” he told me. About four years ago, Barker got the local distributorship for the GE Homespring, which uses thousands of tiny, fibre membrane strands to block out contaminants like bacteria, parasites and viruses. He thought: “Wouldn’t it be neat to get this technology to places in the world that need it the most?”

Easier said than done. Costs were one issue, he knew, and the availability of parts and technicians was another. What’s more, places that lack safe drinking water often also lack electricity.

It was then that Barker decided to design and build the Sunspring, which incorporates GE’s technology, but runs on solar power. “It’s probably 96 percent assembled when you get it,” he says. “From crate to making water takes about two hours.” Surplus electricity can even be used to charge a mobile phone…

Barker’s company, Innovative Water Technologies, has deployed about 20 Sunsprings in Haiti. He says they should last 10 years and can purify up to 5,000 gallons of water a day, at a cost as low as $.0013 per gallon.
“It’s one of the most cost-effective water treatment systems in the world,” he says.

Here’s a A Q&A with Jack Barker on Solar Powered Water Purification from R&D Magazine.

More water treatment coverage here.

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