A long-term partnership, which could add half a billion litres of clean drinking water per year to the global water supply, was announced yesterday in New York between Coca-Cola and DEKA who own the water purification ‘slingshot’ technology.

Coca-Cola has a goal to replenish all of the water it uses in its beverages and their production by 2020. The company hopes this partnership will see millions of litres of clean water delivered to schools, health clinics and community centres in rural areas within Africa and Latin America next year.

In the long term, DEKA and Coca-Cola intend to expand the use of the technology to communities in India, the Middle East and Asia.

The slingshot system, using vapour compression distillation that runs on low levels of energy, can boil and evaporate any dirty water source into pure drinking water.

One slingshot unit can purify up to 300,000 litres of water each year – enough to supply daily drinking water for around 300 people. It can produce ten gallons of clean water an hour while consuming less than 1 kW of electricity.

The unit, which can even convert raw sewage, can be plugged into the local grid or be powered by other locally-available and renewable sources.

Last year a successful field trial of the technology was conducted at five schools in Ghana providing 140,000 litres of clean drinking water to 1,500 children over six months.

Coca-Cola chief executive officer Muhtar Kent said: “Water is becoming a scarce, valuable commodity. Today more than one billion people lack access to safe drinking water.

“Water is the lifeblood of our business and our commitment is to ensure we’re doing our part to replenish the water we use and give it back to communities around the world. By partnering with DEKA R&D to bring the Slingshot technology to water-stressed communities in remote places, we hope to be able to deliver and maintain a clean water solution for many remote communities, changing the daily lives of thousands of people.”

Inventor of the slingshot technology and president of DEKA, Dean Kamen, highlighted the benefits of teaming up with Coca-Cola.

“For years we looked for a partner who could help us get the Slingshot machine into production, scale it up, bring it down the cost curve, and deliver and operate the units in the places where the need is greatest.

“Now we have that partner in Coca-Cola who brings unparalleled knowledge of working, operating and partnering in the most remote places in the world. Being able to bring clean, potable drinking water to people in need and being a part of Coca-Cola’s water commitment, is taking this technology to a new level,” he said.

Conor McGlone

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