Slingshot water purifier
The Slingshot is a water purification machine developed by Dean KamenW. It takes in contaminated water, even raw sewage, and separates out the clean water by vaporizing it. It then shoots the remaining sludge out through a plastic tube.
It is about the size of a washing machine and is claimed to produce 1000 L of clean water per day.
It needs a source of heat - Kamen thinks it could be use the waste heat of his other device: Kamen's Stirling engine.
Kamen hopes to get the device down to US$1000 to $2000.
This is far more expensive than other options, some of which cost nearly nothing, such as the cloth filter and solar water disinfection, compared at Choosing water supply and purification methods. However, the Slingshot's claimed rate of production is far higher, which may make it cost-effective.
To calculate the capital cost's contribution to the cost of the water (roughly):
- If we take a payback period of 3 years, and assume:
- perfect performance,
- a cost of $2000
- that gives:
- 365 d/yr * 3yr * 2000L/d = 1095000 L
- $2000/1095000 = approx 0.2 cents/L.
This price seems reasonable. The actual effectiveness of the device depends on how well these assumptions hold, in particular:
- Whether the machine is really reliable;
- Whether it really can be run on free waste heat. (This appears to be the biggest challenge, as the alternative would be expensive fuel);
- Whether it can really run on low cost, easily accessible water sources (such as waste water);
- Whether it can really be made for $2000 or less, and whether maintenance will add significantly to the cost.
- Whether there are significant additional costs or difficulties not listed here (such as transporting the devices to remote areas).
 See also
- The Next Net: Dean Kamen's Newest Slingshot, 2006.
- Coke, Segway inventor team up on clean water project, Reuters, 2012.
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