Subscribe to the daily newsletter.

Tech firm turns Glasgow’s canals into drinking water

Technology firm IF has developed a new form of water purification that it is hoped will end reliance on bottled water – after testing it on Glasgow canals.

Around 24,000 homes in Scotland currently depend on bottled water, which is expensive and unsustainable for the environment, or private water supplies which are expensive and difficult to maintain.

Of 1.3bn plastic bottles bought daily, nearly 45% end up in the ocean after a single use, breaking down into microplastics, while traditional water purifiers often end up in landfill as they deteriorate quickly.

IF has created a miniature vapour compression distillation system without consumable parts or chemicals, which works in 45 minutes to begin purifying previously untreatable water – and would get rid of parasites such as those seen in a recent outbreak in south west England.

Years of research, design, prototyping and tests helped with the development of technology proven to provide the purest water from previously unusable sources, including from the Glasgow canal network.

The company received funding from Zero Waste Scotland and Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI), among others.

It has been taken up by Portsonachan Hotel & Lodges at Loch Awe, which has previously tried alternatives to bottled water with no success due to peat in the water supplies, and has become the first business in Scotland to use the new technology.

Duncan Peters, founder and chief executive of IF, said: “Access to safe drinking water is a global problem that is only getting harder as global warming, ageing infrastructure, industrial waste and modern contaminants gathers pace.

“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.”

(Pic: Glasgow and Ardrossan Canal, Thomas Nugent/Geograph/Creative Commons)

Subscribe to the Prolific North Daily Newsletter Today!

Want all the latest content from Prolific North delivered direct to your inbox daily? Of course you do!

Related News