As California continues to suffer through a crippling four-year drought – prompting Governor Jerry Brown to impose mandatory water restrictions last week – Swedish scientists have completely revamped one of the most water-hogging household products.
The U.S. Geological Survey says that the average person uses about 80 gallons to 100 gallons of water per day. Much of that comes from time spent lathering up in the shower. At 17%, it’s the third-largest user of water in the home (toilets and washing machines are the first two, by the way), with the average one lasting eight minutes and sucking up 17 gallons.
But the Swedes have a plan to slash that consumption by as much as 90%…
A Shower From the Future
Who knew that a mission to Mars would provide the inspiration for something as mundane as a shower?
But that’s exactly what happened to the innovators at Orbital Systems.
CEO Mehrdad Mahdjoubi explains, “What began as a collaboration project between Lund University and NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston made me question the possibility of recycling water on earth, like has been done in space. The shower of the future is a water-recycling shower, thus enabling water savings up to 90% and energy savings up to 80%, while at the same time increasing comfort and hygiene.”
Hence, the OrbSys was born – a “space-age” shower that does exactly that…
Lather, Rinse, Recycle, Repeat
The key to the design is a closed-loop structure that constantly pumps the same water back around the shower. Sound dirty?
Well, it doesn’t mean you’re washing in your own grimy water. OrbSys has a patented purification capsule that instantly purifies the water as it falls into the drain, before recycling it and pumping it back out of the showerhead.
Mahdjoubi continues, “After the water is collected in the drain and analyzed, the shower pump shoots it through our purification system. This consists of a micro-capsule that takes away the larger particles, then it goes to the nano-capsule, which takes away all of the smaller contaminants, making sure that the water that reaches the user from the recycling loop always is crystal clear and nice to shower in.”
Aside from the water and energy savings, the invention achieves two other goals – getting people to think about how they use water, while not sacrificing on quality or lifestyle.
Coming to a Bathroom Near You?
The Orbital Systems team has tested the shower in the open-air baths at Ribersborgs in Sweden – with OrbSys saving 100,000 liters of water over four months.
They say it’s now ready for a wider launch. And with serious water shortages and waterborne diseases rife in many areas of the world, they also say that the purification technology can be adapted for taps and fountains in developing countries.
Heck, there’s no doubt that such water-saving innovation should be employed closer to home. What wouldn’t California give for such a water-saving innovation at the moment?