March 18, 2016 weblog
Water-wise two-week shower use showcased by Tokyo startup
(Tech Xplore)—Water. A Tokyo-based company places water top of mind. One of its promotional videos is actually a promotion of the importance of thinking more carefully about water resources. It shows raindrops falling on ocean waves.
"Our ancestors were born in the rainforest," said the video, and our civilization developed around the great rivers. "We drew water from the river. We dug wells. Our evolution depended on securing water. Today, we're running out of it. Water is a source of life. It also confines life to a fixed location. Until now."
Hotaru according to the video, has come up with a portable water purification system as a compact package, which enables us to recycle used water—not just once or twice but as often as we like.
That frees a person to go anywhere, without worrying about access to water supplies and water shortages—maybe even for going to live on another planet.
Hotaru also has a new video about its water shower. Shohei Okudera and Riki Kitagawa, founders of Tokyo-based Hotaru, were at the SXSW event in Texas to show it off.
Hotaru's shower can be used anywhere—in the middle of a room, or at outdoor construction sites, on mountains and in deserts. It can be stored and folded in a compact box. It is easily carried in a car. It is capable of recycling used water with its purification system. The amount of water used by a family of three goes up to 840 liters in two weeks, said the video. With this system, it can be covered with 20 liters (5 gallons).
Tibi Puiu in ZME Science said take a family of three: They can use 5 gallons to take 5-minute showers each day for two weeks.
The company website said, "with just 5 Gallons, you can take 50 showers. That's equivalent to 160 Gallons or more than 150 Gallons in water savings."
In general, showering is not just energy-intensive but water-consuming. Puiu noted that, according to Jonah Schein, technical coordinator for homes and buildings for the EPA's WaterSense program, an American typically showers for eight minutes, and every minute uses at least 2.5 gallons of water.
Hotaru's plastic base holds the water. There is a pop-up nylon tent. A pole keeps the handheld shower head in place. Water is collected from the drain in the floor and pumped through water purifying filters. Filters need changing about every two months.
Jay Donovan writing in TechCrunch met with the company founders at SXSW earlier this week. They claim their device can recover 95 to 98 percent of the water used in the shower.
How do they make sure the water is purified? Donovan said, "The shower is outfitted with various sensors and alerts" to ensure proper purification.
Hotaru is off-grid and can be powered by a generator or AC hookup, said ZME Science.
Donovan reported they plan to have the product in market in 2017 for $3,000.
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