Clean water is the essential element of human life, ensuring that humans can thrive in health when they have an abundant access to clean drinking water. However, not everyone on the planet has this access, and it is becoming more of a problem as climate change/environmental pollution and water privatization grow.
Worldwide, water-related diseases cause the deaths of 1 out of 5 children, according to the Water Project. Approximately 783 million people (1 in 9 people) do not have access to clean drinking water. There are all kinds of non-profit and non-governmental organizations addressing this need, but it remains strong.
Industrial designer Beatriz Jaqueline Herrera knows the statistics, and grew determined to do something about it.
“I decided I wanted to work with a water filtering system because I discovered that one of the main causes of disease and pollution in the world are related to water,” Herrera said. “On one side because there are lots of people that have none or very limited access to clean drinking water. On the other hand, plastic bottles represent one of the most polluting and used products in the world. What was even more shocking is that most of these were water bottles and some of the countries that consume and throw away these are first world countries, where clean drinking water comes out of the tap.”
Coming from Mexico to Australia for a semester abroad, and shocked by how different the realities are between the two countries, she devised a way to make a difference. As an assignment in her Additive Manufacturing course at Australia’s RMIT University, she decided to design three different 3D printed water bottle filters that would give water bottles a second life and allow people to filter tap water into healthier drinking water.
Pur:aCor is the name of her water filter project and it is a quite a simple concept. There are three different styles of filters to fit different kinds of water bottles. Each filter has three different parts: two pieces that ensemble together, and then a third core paper filter with sand, pebbles, and resveratrol. The core filter fits inside one of the parts, and this is the necessary filtering element that makes the project work.
Herrera credits 3D printing with the project idea and design.
“3D printing is something essential for this project, because it enabled the creation of three variants of the filter. This allows the filters to be used with different types of plastic bottles to be re-used. Other aspect that 3D printing allows is that can be created in a small machine and produced all over the world and be put to use right away,” she said.
It is also important to mention that the Pur:aCor water filters are printed with biodegradable materials. The world can definitely find a use for such a simple concept that is easy to reproduce, and Herrera is currently exploring her options when it comes to taking Pur:aCor to the next level.