Each day I become more aware of how critical our water problems are becoming – the availability of water has profound implications for our health, productivity, and economic development, all of which will flounder in the absence of clean drinking water. Currently, 20% of the world’s population lives without enough water. Last week’s Clean Tech Forum was a chance for clean tech companies addressing this and other problems to “to fund and be funded” as 3p’s Jen Boynton pointed out. One of the many exciting ventures present at the forum was Cardinal Resources, whose Red Bird System can provide clean water affordably to communities around the world.
The Red Bird is a solar powered water treatment system that uses no more than salt, sand, and sun to produce clean water for a fraction of a penny per gallon. It functions without pre-existing infrastructure, and can therefore be used in remote and rural communities globally, where clean water is needed most. One Red Bird System can provide for an entire community. The Red Bird can use water from a variety of sources, and can be set up in just a few days to provide water that meets US standards.
The Red Bird is only one of Cardinal Resources’ water solutions, and the company, which was founded in 2004, is cash flow positive and profitable with successful projects in 14 countries. Other next steps for the company include expansion into West Africa, Mexico, the US, and China and development of a trailer-based Red Bird for emergency response scenarios.
Cardinal Resources divides its target market into 3 divisions: developed economies, emerging economies, and NGO’s and aid agencies. Water purification systems are not new – what makes the Red Bird unique is it runs off of renewable, solar energy and requires only salt, rather than other chemicals, for purification. It will be important to educate target markets of these differentiating factors, as well as to convince NGOs and aid agencies that Red Bird is an appropriate technology to solve the problems at hand. The development of the Red Bird is just one exciting, encouraging example of innovative, yet simple technologies that we are capable of developing to solve our water and other problems at hand.
What other practical solutions to critical water problems are being developed that we should know about?