Innovation comes in waves: Patents for water solutions

Discover how innovative patents provide access to clean water for all. 

In a world grappling with diverse challenges, innovation stands as a beacon of hope. This is particularly true for technologies which strive to address the growing global water crisis. According to the UN, 2.2 billion people still live without safe access to clean water, and approximately half of the world's population experiences severe water scarcity. In celebration of World Water Day on 22 March, this article delves into the pivotal role that patents play in supporting SDG 6: Clean Water & Sanitation and how they contribute to the widespread dissemination of life-changing knowledge.  

  1. A closed-loop shower to save water and energy 

DEVICE FOR PURIFYING AND RECYCLING SHOWER WATER Figure 1 - EP2793667B1 Device for purifying and recycling shower water 

Mehrdad Mahdjoubi is the visionary behind the Oas, a groundbreaking shower system inspired by astronautical technologies and designed to redefine domestic water usage. The Swedish inventor's creation filters and recycles five litres of water, consuming 90% less water and 80% less energy than conventional showers. A finalist for the European Inventor Award in 2018 (see link below under "Further Information"), Mahdjoubi brings about societal benefits with his invention, particularly in water-scarce regions. Consider this: a hospital that installed Oas shower systems experienced a legionella outbreak that affected all the water taps but not the showers because of the intense purification process built into the devices. 

  1. A spiral pump for lifting water in remote areas 

SPIRAL PUMP AND MANUFACTURING METHOD THEREFOR Figure 2 - EP3084225B1 Spiral pump and manufacturing method therefor

This patent relates to an innovative spiral pump and its corresponding manufacturing method. It was invented to improve upon existing designs for various applications, such as irrigation. Conventional pumps typically used for elevating liquids, primarily water, from lower to higher levels are limited by their weight, scalability, and reliability, particularly in remote agricultural regions where maintaining equipment proves challenging. This patent introduces a rigid rotary part with an integrated spiral fluid channel that can be customised, thus reducing weight and improving reliability—two features which facilitate the use of the pump in isolated areas.  

  1. A water container that saves lives 

A WATER CONTAINERFigure 3 - EP2475620B1 A water container 

This patent describes a water container, or "jerrycan", designed to efficiently remove impurities from water. The container has an integrated water filter containing fibre membranes that remove bacteria, viruses and other pathogens from the water, making it safe for consumption. Its compact and portable design makes it user-friendly for humanitarian missions since it provides an effective solution for obtaining potable water from a wide range of water sources. Consequently, the invention is particularly useful in areas with limited or difficult access to water.  

The patents highlighted here are examples of the transformative power of human ingenuity in ensuring access to safe drinking water, especially in remote and underserved communities. As we build a more sustainable future, it is essential to recognize that patents, and in particular the knowledge contained in them, have the potential to improve lives and safeguard what is perhaps our most precious resource: water.  

Keywords: Water, technologies, innovation, patent knowledge, platform, SDG 6