Experimental Device Turns Sweat Into Drinking Water

Dennis Faas's picture

Clean drinking water is a precious resource. As the world becomes more polluted, the demand for healthy water only increases. But now there's some good news on this front: a new invention from Sweden turns sweat into water that can be safely consumed by human beings.

The device, which has not yet been named, was developed by private researchers and Sweden's Royal Institute of Technology.

Andreas Hammer, who helped to design and build the sweat-conversion device, says it will be used by the United Nations and Unicef to help give people access to clean drinking water. Recent studies have shown that almost 800 million people worldwide lack access to such water.

Converted Fluid Cleaner Than Tap Water

Those behind the project say the device uses a spinning motion, heat, and a special membrane to separate out the water molecules. The result is water that project researchers insist is cleaner than your average glass of tap water.

"It uses a technique called membrane distillation," Hammer said. "We use a substance that's a bit like Goretex that only lets steam through but keeps bacteria, salts, clothing fibres and other substances out." (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Hammer added that similar systems are used on the International Space Station to help convert astronauts' urine. However, Hammer says that system is far more expensive than his sweat conversion machine. (Source: com.au)

One Sweaty Shirt = One Mouthful of Water

Hammer says that one sweaty T-shirt can produce about a single mouthful (or ten millilitres) of water. That may not sound like a lot, but it could certainly add up and make a significant difference in areas far from clean drinking water sources.

The researchers have been carrying out tests in Europe and say that more than one thousand people have consumed the processed sweat, with no problems reported.

It's not yet clear if the device will ever see mass production. Some experts suggest that water purifying pills represent a cheaper and more efficient way of providing people with access to clean drinking water.

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