NATO demonstrate portable RO plant potential

NATO's Allied Command Transformation (ACT) recognised the need for a portable water generation and purification equipment capability to reduce the impact of attacks on convoys in Iraq and limit the cost in manpower, vehicles and fuel used for water transport. In cooperation with Radian of the USA and German purification specialist Kärcher Futuretech, a subsidiary of Alfred Kärcher, NATO conducted an experiment to test transportable equipment for generation, purification and bottling.

During a water generation experiment held in October in ACT’s parade ground in Norfolk, Virginia, USA, the Integrated Logistics Integrated Capabilities Team (ILICT) successfully demonstrated the capability of bottling 700L/h with a bottling plant that can be loaded onto a C-130 Hercules aircraft and flown anywhere in the world.

According to the US Army, up to 65% of the military road traffic in Iraq is transporting bottled drinking water to troops and support personnel. The purpose of the experiment was to test equipment capable of obtaining water from various sources, purifying it, and bottling it for distribution.

Additionally this equipment must be transportable in a C-130 Hercules logistics aircraft.

“If we’re able to reduce the logistical footprint for our expeditionary forces, we’ve taken the first step to reducing the transportation needs of the NATO Response Force,” said Grigorios Triantafyllidis, assistant chief of staff for resources and logistics and chairman of ILICT.

The first step in supplying expeditionary forces with drinkable water is generation. Equipment capable of supplying a small force was successfully demonstrated, obtaining water from diesel exhaust or the surrounding air.

The most cost-effective method for purifying water is reverse osmosis (RO). Kärcher demonstrated its Water Bottling Plant 700 equipment capable of producing 1600L/h of potable water.

Distribution is the final step in the process. A mobile bottling plant capable of producing 700 bottles per hour was tested during the demonstration; each bottle holds one litre of water and is sealed, sterilised and labeled on site.

In order to ensure that the water meets safety standards, ACT hired US company Jennings Laboratories to test for contamination. Ten random samples from throughout the process were clear for total coliform.

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