Jul 14, 2017 | By Benedict

Researchers at the University of Bath are developing a 3D printed household water treatment (HWT) system to produce safe drinking water. The $6.50 PLA device could produce up to 35 liters of clean drinking water a day.

On name alone, you’d probably expect the UK’s University of Bath to have some pretty good ideas about water.

And turns out it actually does! A multi-disciplinary research project being carried out at the university is seeking to create an efficient, portable, and low-cost HWT system for poor rural areas in developing countries.

“The potential to develop a cheap, durable, and portable device which can provide those most in need with safe, clean drinking water is an exciting prospect,” said Dr Emma Emanuelsson, project lead and lecturer in the Department of Chemical Engineering.

The team is using 3D printing to prototype new versions of the HWT system, testing each iteration with an indoor solar light that replicates pure sunlight.

Why sunlight? Well, perhaps surprisingly, sunlight could be key to the success of the low-cost drinking water device. Although purification methods like boiling, disinfection, and filtration are well established, use of sunlight can actually sidestep many of the problems associated with these methods.

The Bath researchers’ sunlight water treatment device is based on something called a “SODIS Bottle” (SOlar DISinfection), a plastic bottle that deactivates microbes through a combination of heat and UV light from the sun. Researchers aren’t totally sure how much time the SODIS Bottle needs to decontaminate water, but the method has been proven to work.

The researchers’ new device will purportedly have no breakable parts, require no power source, and will be more durable than other devices. And most importantly, the device can make lots of clean water.

The Bath team thinks its HWT system will be able to produce 35 liters of clean drinking water a day—shy of the 50 liters per person per day recommended by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for drinking, showering, etc. but still far more than some people in deprived areas can currently access.

Making the HWT system easy to make is a top priority for the University of Bath researchers, so they have designed the device to be 3D printed in biodegradable plant-based PLA. With this material, each device will cost just £5 ($6.50), and the researchers therefore hope that around 10,000 units of the HWT system could be produced each year by locally trained workers.

The affordability and easy-to-make nature of the HWT system could make it suitable for use in crisis zones, including places affected by war or natural disasters.

The Bath team has identified particular locations that could benefit from the HWT system. Africa currently has the lowest uptake of adequate HWT systems, and will therefore be the primary target for the new device. Malawi, a landlocked country in the southeast of the continent, will be used as a case study to test the 3D printed devices in the field.

The Bath research team contains experts from a number of disciplines. Mathematicians will develop a mathematical model for calculating how long water takes to pass through the HWT system; digital design experts in Civil Engineering will develop software for designing different 3D printed prototypes; Chemical Engineers will study how different conditions affect the drinking water; and experts in Social and Policy Sciences will determine how the HWT device can best be implemented in rural areas.

“The key strength of this project is its simplicity and the multi-disciplinary approach taken,” Emanuelsson said. “Our skills and expertise complement each other, combining maths with engineering with social sciences will ensure we develop an effective water treatment device that is both useful and accepted in rural African communities.”

The University of Bath team is working with local NGOs to ensure that the drinking water technology is successfully adopted by the African communities.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



Maybe you also like:


smartboi wrote at 7/17/2017 4:11:31 AM:

purportedly= alleged, claimed

Leave a comment:

Your Name:


Subscribe us to

3ders.org Feeds 3ders.org twitter 3ders.org facebook   

About 3Ders.org

3Ders.org provides the latest news about 3D printing technology and 3D printers. We are now seven years old and have around 1.5 million unique visitors per month.

News Archive