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National Runner Up

SAFAA

A cheap and fuel efficient way to acquire clean drinking water in rural villages, and settlements near polluted water sources.

What it does

Safaa provides clean water via distillation in rural settlements with no access to clean water. It's a water filtration solution that can provide upto 15L of clean water at a time.


Your inspiration

Having our college located in a sub-rural area, we often faced problems with the water we consumed. This problem only became more prominent when we visited settlements near our college and realized the magnitude and factual reality of how water could affect the health and livelihood of people. Our solution came about by observing the activities and intricacies of their lifestyle. The bucket based container system, 'chulha' heat chamber and fuel requirement are all integral to their way of living and are readily available.


How it works

The product cleans water by the basic principle of Distillation. This process is accelerated and made efficient via vacuum creation which enables our product to boil and distil water faster and with minimal heat requirement. Boiling of water depends on two factors, i.e. temperature and pressure. Lowering the pressure also lowers the temperature water would need to boil. Thus vacuum creation in the chamber via the vacuum pump, lowers the pressure inside (by removing air) which enables water to boil at room temperature with minimal heat stimuli. The water vapors from the lower chamber rise through a cone to condense in the upper chamber, from where clean water can be extracted via a tap. The bucket based design gives it a high storage capacity, thus allowing the filter to deliver up to 15L of clean water at a time. This allows the user to go through the process just once a day or more depending on the need.


Design process

We started our process by trying to empathize with the problem by visiting rural settlements and keenly observing activities related to water. Mapping water sources and storage patterns in families helped us gain valuable insights into their lives and a better understanding of their pain points. Through constant observation and interaction with the users, it came to light that these settlements went days with the supply of muddy water. They cleaned it only by letting the dirt sediment for some time and then using cloth as a filter which wasn't an optimal solution. Boiling water was too tedious because of the active involvement and multiple utensils required. We thus worked on a solution that could best be incorporated with their current assets and context. After analyzing the amount of water consumed by each family and the effort put into cleaning the water we finally settled on a concept that utilized a bucket for maximum usability. We prototyped multiple concepts on a small scale that utilized various methods of purification such as pasteurization, microfilters, activated alumna etc, to understand the sustenance and output of the product. After multiple prototypes and iterations, our final prototype was made out of stainless steel containers and a vacuum pump integration.


How it is different

The variety of water filtration systems available in the market are not less but most of them leave out a huge chunk of the population which does not have access to running water , electricity and doesn’t have the budget to invest in these systems. This is where our product tries to bridge the gap between these people and clean drinking water. Safaa is cohesive with their lifestyle and water consumption patterns by using a bucket based container system and fuels like wood, cow dung which are readily available. By reducing energy requirement and addressing the longevity of the product by removing changeable filters/cartridges which ultimately head to the landfill, the product also falls into an affordable price bracket which is quite rare for filtration systems. Safaa tries to bring perceptible impact into consumers lives by providing a wholistic and long lasting solution.


Future plans

Future plans for our product are to optimize the current design so as to give maximum output with minimum energy consumption. We also want to explore more around materials which will help catalyze a sustainable eco system and promote and aid local manufacturing. Since this project has made us aware about the impact water actually has and the little choices that are available, we would like to put the current technology into newer contexts like disaster struck areas , and adapt it appropriately.


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