By Tuan Nguyen
Posting in Technology
A Japanese company has plans to scale up production of a bicycle that purifies water for those living in remote villages or disaster areas.
Bicycling is a great way to burn calories and get fit. But a new kind of bike may improve the health of entire communities in an entirely different way.
Nippon Basic, a start-up based in Japan, has plans to scale up production of a bicycle that purifies water for those living in remote villages or disaster areas. Cycloclean functions just like any other bicycle, except that the addition of a water filtering system allows bikers to crank out drinking water using the same pedaling motion that propels bikers forward. The rotation of the bike chain helps to remove impurities by driving a motor that pumps water through a system of filters, pumps and hoses located near the rear wheel.
But just how much drinking water are we talking about here? The company touts on their website that during the course of a 10 hour biking trip, the technology will generate about three tons of clean water, enough to quench the thirst of 1,500 people. The modified bicycle also features puncture-proof tires and the capacity to suck up water at a depth of five meters.
Originally developed in 2005, the company has since sold 200 bikes to countries like for the Japanese equivalent of 6,600 dollars per unit.
Although the bikes are considerably more expensive than ordinary bicycles, company president Yuichi Katsuura says that the bikes can actually be a form of revenue for businesses that sell water and create new opportunities for the millions of rickshaw drivers in Bangladesh who stand to lose their jobs as the economy grows.
"You go to where water is, put your bicycle on a stand, drop a pump and peddle for clean water, which can then be sold elsewhere," he told Agence France-Presse.
The company hopes to have 100-200 units available for purchase annually, with production slated to ramp up around April.
Photo: Nippon Basic
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What I see in the picture and the description adds up to less that $600. I doubt that the people who have an actual use for one would even consider paying so much.I doubt more that they could pay it.
The article says to put the bike on a stand once you have a water source. If it is only a stationery bike, it would have to be carried to the water source. Without it being stationery, it can be ridden to the water source. That would be more effective. While the idea of bikes in a gym pumping out water sounds good, the gym would need to have a source of ground water from which the bikes could extract and get to work. I was thinking it would be nice for farmers in poor, arid countries. They could tap into the water table (if possible) with the bike and then pedal to irrigate their farmland. Imagine how much better their crops would grow if they just had some clean water every couple days. For them - this could be a game changer.
@rivardau You're definitely on to something. There is a gym in Portland that is harnessing the energy from clients to power lights and the facilities' other electrical needs. It's mind-blowing when you think about how much energy we're regularly expending that can be used to power something. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/7796215.stm
could this filter system be applied to stationary bikes in a gym? that way, water lines can be permanently hooked up and maybe provide pure drinking water for drinking fountains or sinks. if people are paying to go to a gym and pedaling anyway for exercise or calorie- burning, can this energy be harnassed for water purifying? AND, can it be done for much less than 6,000$ that is very expensive but i wonder if it was a more stationary system, could the price be cheaper?
If I did my math right, 3 tons in 10 hours comes out to about 1.25 gal/min. That's not a lot, especially using since bicycles use leg power efficiently. Most of the effort would be pushing the water through the filters.
That bicycle is going to need a bicyclist doing a Herculean effort to pull 3 tons of clean water. OR one heck of a long hose!
Water from a bike on the side of a road - risk of the owner not taking care of his equipment, not appetizing! If it were my own bike, sure.