GE engineers create novel water purification system

In a development that could bring fresh drinking water to millions of impoverished people around the world, a pair of General Electric (GE) engineers have created a technological system that uses simple processes to produce clean water.

According to Treehugger, a green industry news source, Steve Froelicher and Sam DuPlessis of GE led a team of scientists and volunteers in an effort that ultimately resulted in the new device. It utilizes salt and electricity to restrict the development of harmful bacteria, which the source reported is a major cause of disease in many low-income nations across the globe.

The GE group collaborated with WaterStep, a nonprofit advocacy group that operates in developing economies such as Haiti and Pakistan. In those countries, impoverished communities are at risk of life-threatening waterborne diseases such as dysentery and cholera.

The device, which is reportedly still being tested by the team, utilizes a process called chlorination to cleanse the water. Chlorine is introduced into a supply of contaminated water and, over a period of several hours, oxidises and eliminates any organisms.

One of the most interesting aspects of the initiative is the fact that Froelicher and DuPlessis approached the project even though they had much to learn about water purification. GE published a press release on the topic, with one of the engineers stating that the innovation was truly a from-the-ground-up project.

“We had to learn many details that were not part of our jobs,” Froelicher was quoted as saying. “I’m not a chemical engineer and neither is Sam. Like any typical new product development, we had to go back to school to understand what we were trying to do to make an excellent device.”

According to GE, the next phases of the project involve creating a more power-conserving device, in the hopes that renewable energy could one day operate this unique technology. With luck, the new water purifier will one day be in use all around the globe to bring fresh water to millions of families who need it the most.

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