"Drinking water safely is something we take for granted." For 660 million people it is not, reports the World Health Organisation (WHO). A Viennese company is helping to improve their situation and to disinfect dirty water.
The electrical engineer Martin Wesian, caught cholera ten years ago during a trip through Venezuela because he had drunk contaminated water. As a result, he looked for water treatment solutions. The result was WADI - a device that can measure the quality of drinking water: "You have a certain number of germs, and people get sick from them. The moment you put the bottled water in the sun and our WADI shows with a smiley that the process is done, they can drink the water safely."
UV rays against germs
Disinfection is done with the power of the sun, a process recommended by the World Health Organisation. Water from rivers, puddles or wells are placed in PET bottles in the sun. The UV-A rays largely kill the germs. The WADI is placed in the sun and calculates the UV radiation and thus how long the water needs to be safe to drink.
The company behind the product, Helioz, is active in Africa, India and Bangladesh, where it works with charitable organisations as well as governments, Wesian says. "In India in particular, there is interesting legislation here. There has been a law for a few years now that companies have to use two per cent of their profits for social actions, that can be education, but it can also be water."
Development in Vienna
The development of the devices takes place at the Vienna location, they are produced in Vorarlberg and India. From summer on, the new water treatment devices will be used on house roofs, for example, to disinfect large quantities of water by themselves, Wesian reports: "That's special, for example, to supply a school with water." A small village could also be supplied with the devices, he adds.
The drinking water supply is one thing, the other is saving CO2. The WADI technology eliminates the need to boil water, emphasises Niclas Schmiedmaier, CEO of Helioz. If the water is disinfected by means of solar radiation instead of fire, this saves CO2. "We get these tonnes, this saving, and can then sell that in certificates to customers." It is only through the sale of these CO2 certificates to trading companies or airlines, for example, that Helioz's revenues bubble up."
To the report incl. Wien Heute report