Dear Jim Bridenstine,
My name is Harish Krishnan and I write this letter to persuade you to continue funding for the NASA water filtration project. I would like to highlight the importance of this water filter in our daily lives and hence request you to read this paper.
‘Water Water everywhere and not a drop to drink ‘. The world is covered with over 70% of water and yet only 2.5% of that percentage is fit for human consumption and use( Perlman, H.
, & USGS. (2016)). Many countries face the problem of obtaining clean water due to geographic and economic reasons. This is how the concept of water filtration stemmed out in many countries. Water filtration as the name suggests is the process of removing bacteria, sediment, and other harmful particles from water. There are many water filtration technologies such as reverse osmosis, ultraviolet radiation (UV), and ultrafiltration (UF) with reverse osmosis water filters being the most used in households. However, reverse osmosis wastes much water for filtering and depletes the human body with some beneficial minerals.
It is also expensive and tough to maintain for people with less income. Therefore, it is necessary to have an effective water filter that is affordable for everyone in the world. These are the factors that NASA considered for their water filtration technology – NanoCream.
Mohssen Ghiassi, an entrepreneur wanted a portable water filter that can be used worldwide. NanoCeram was discovered in Argonide Corporation in Florida. Argonide, with the support of NASA, developed the NanoCeram water filtration/ purification technology.
This was licensed to a company called Ahlstrom which mass-produced this filter for usage across the world. Ghiassi founded (I HAVE A DOUBT) a company called OKO to further promote and publicize the spinoff technology. OKO is a company that makes portable water bottles that use this NASA-derived filter technology. OKO which means ‘eco’ in German uses echo-friendly materials along with advanced technology to provide safe drinking water to the public.
These bottles are made from FDA-approved materials and are free from BPA. BPA is an industrial chemical that is commonly used to make certain plastics. These plastics are in turn used to make food storing containers and bottles. BPA is said to alter the function of the endocrine system and hormone receptors such thyroid. It also mimics the function of estrogen by influencing processes such as growth, reproduction, etc. (Le, H. H., Carlson, E. M., Chua, J. P., & Belcher, S. M., 2008). The bottle uses a carbon filter and a NASA-derived media. The NASA-derived media is electropositive filter media that consists of nanofibres derived from NanoCeram which absorb particles no matter how small they are. (Ghiassi, 2006). It behaves like a magnet by attracting negatively charged particles. The filter also contains 400 microscopic pores along with silver ions which kill microbes. These filters are present in a cap and can be attached to any bottle. To filter water, one has to squeeze the bottle allowing the water to pass through the cap which contains the filter media. This process removes almost 99.99 percent of the bacteria contained in water. This process of filtration gets rid of microbes that cause water-borne diseases such as cholera, amoebiasis, etc. This technology has also been approved by the United Nations and UNICEF.
This technology is currently in use in the International Space Station (ISS) where water is not available. This technology converts human waste products such as urine and sweat to potable drinking water. This technology is embedded in the Environment Control and Life Support System (ECLSS), in which astronauts reuse their previous supplies of water (Dunbar, 2009). These filters are extremely useful in countries where water shortage and lack of clean water is a problems. These filters filter any type of water and output clean drinking water. Many people in countries like India have to walk kilometers to access drinking water. These filters solve their problems. This product has been certified to operate in 140 countries around the world
According to Schriever, in his report from the Huffington Post over 50 billion water bottles are consumed every year, with the USA consuming 30 billion of them. These bottles are made from plastics called polyethylene terephthalate (PET). They are recyclable but not biodegradable. Over time these PETs photodegrade by breaking into smaller particles due to the action of sunlight and air. These particles absorb bio-toxins and other pollutants contaminating soil and water sources. These PETs take centuries to completely decompose. On the other hand, these OKO bottles are made out of recycled PET which is free of all toxins and pollutants making them environment-friendly. The water bottle industry charges around $2 for every 500 ml water bottle which is an exorbitant rate. The OKO water bottle is priced at a modest $25. However, the main feature of the OKO water bottle is that it can be used to filter water multiple times, and hence the cost is amortized making it a conservative investment.
These bottles are made from plastic that is not biodegradable and therefore causes a huge environmental hazard. Even though there are filtration projects for filtering seawater, these projects are very expensive and difficult to fund by the government.