Articles - Bottled Water

Environmentally Friendly Water Purification System Launched by UK Engineers

June 2024

Articles - Bottled Water

Environmentally Friendly Water Purification System Launched by UK Engineers

June 2024

A team of UK-based engineers has developed a groundbreaking technology that promises to revolutionize access to safe, clean drinking water for millions worldwide. Despite advances in modern infrastructure, numerous homes, businesses, and tourism hotspots still rely on bottled water or costly, difficult-to-maintain private water supplies, particularly in rural areas. In Scotland alone, approximately 24,000 properties depend on these inadequate solutions.

Many properties fail annual water quality tests, forcing occupants and visitors to rely on bottled water for years, significantly contributing to transport miles and the escalating issue of plastic waste. This problem is global. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) predicts that, without urgent action, global plastic waste will nearly triple by 2060. Of the 1.3 billion plastic bottles bought daily around the world, nearly 45% end up in the ocean after a single use, eventually breaking down into microplastics that enter household water supplies.

Traditional water purifiers often become clogged by contaminants, deteriorating quickly, and ceasing to function before ultimately ending up in landfills. Made with polymers, filters disposed of today will still be decomposing multiple generations into the future.

The innovation by technology company IF employs a miniature vapor compression distillation system that operates without consumable parts or added chemicals. This environmentally friendly, low-cost approach can be operational in just 45 minutes, purifying water from previously untreatable sources worldwide.

Duncan Peters, Founder and CEO of IF, explains:

“Access to safe drinking water is a global problem that is only getting harder as global warming, aging infrastructure, industrial waste, and modern contaminants gather pace. This is why accelerating the path to clean, reliable water is so incredibly important in our lifetime.

“Water is also becoming harder to purify. It's estimated that 93% of the world’s piped water now contains some form of microplastics, hormones, pesticides, or other heavy metals. Traditional purifiers are just not designed to solve these problems, and as a result, we’re turning more and more to environmentally damaging plastic bottles.

“Globally, we’re using one million bottles of water every minute, and that’s because we don’t trust the water quality that we have. Around 80% of single-use plastic ends up in landfill, or eventually in the ocean, poisoning the earth and making the problem worse for the next generation.

“Far more people are starting to pay attention to what’s in their drinking water as we learn more about so-called forever chemicals, which fail to fully break down, and other contaminants. At IF, we want to see a future where you can turn on a tap anywhere in the world and know that you have crystal clear water that is free from pollutants, 365 days a year.

“We’re starting that mission in Scotland where around 3.5% of the population currently rely on off-grid water sources every day. Because our unique purification technology can clean water from previously untreatable sources, we are confident that we can make a significant and immediate impact on access to safe and reliable water supplies globally.”

One of the first companies to benefit from this new technology is Portsonachan Hotel & Lodges, located on Loch Awe in the West of Scotland. Due to its heavily peated water supply, the hotel purchases over 90,000 liters of bottled water each year, adding an additional £13,000 to its operating costs.

Struggling with its unsightly ‘brown water,’ the hotel's owners have tried multiple purification methods, none of which have delivered consistent results. Traditional methods using filters, reverse osmosis, or ultraviolet light techniques eventually deteriorate with use or can release unknown contaminants over time.

David Parker, Owner of Portsonachan Hotel & Lodges, said:

“Our water is currently a peaty brown color, which is met with various reactions from guests—ranging from amusement to horror. They expect clean, pure water during their holiday. But our challenge is far from unique. This is a problem that is replicated across many hospitality businesses and indeed homes around the West of Scotland.

“We’ve tried several different and more traditional purification methods over the years, including a £30,000 centralized system that has never worked. Unfortunately, even if it did work, we have 20 years of peat that has built up in our pipes. Relying on bottled water has been our only solution up until now.

“As a responsible business, sustainability is core to our values, but we also need reliable, crystal-clear water. We need a solution that is low maintenance, reliable, and easy to install. We’re proud to be the first hospitality business in Scotland to be introducing IF’s technology so that we can stop purchasing thousands of liters of bottled water each year and give our visitors access to high-quality water.”

IF conducts hundreds of tests annually through independent UKAS accredited water test laboratories, while its team of inventors, engineers, and product design experts from world-renowned companies, including Dyson and Sonos, is working to introduce this technology globally.