Portable Lifesaver Water Filter
October 29, 2009

Portable Lifesaver Water Filter

Dave one of the Tiny House Blog readers has consistently sent me some great articles and I don’t always manage to fit them in. Here is one he sent recently that not only could help the world but I think could be used in a tiny house situation or help the homeless as well.

“On the outside, it looks like an ordinary sports bottle. On the inside, there’s a miracle: an extremely advanced filtration system that makes murky water filled with deadly viruses and bacteria completely clean in just seconds.”
Allison Barrie, FoxNews.com


Too much of the world lacks access to clean drinking water. Engineer Michael Pritchard did something about it — inventing the portable Lifesaver filter, which can make the most revolting water drinkable in seconds.

Here is an amazing 10 minute demo from TEDGlobal 2009. Very much worth the time to watch.

Using a non-chemical nano-filtration hollow fiber membrane with 15 nanometer pores (it is designed to block viruses), the Lifesaver bottle can make the most revolting swamp water drinkable in seconds. Better still, a single long-lasting filter can clean 6,000 liters of water. Given the astronomical cost of shipping water to disaster areas, Pritchard’s Lifesaver bottle could turn traditional aid models on their heads. You can purchase your own here and if I had a tiny house I would seriously look at the new Jerrycan option.


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James - October 29, 2009 Reply

Seems too good to be true.

zurlo25 - October 30, 2009 Reply

the thing i find wrong is the price of the units.. $149.. the cost of installing a well and a manual pump in the Sudan and Congo. is around $250, and that is a sealed well head 80′ deep.. i find the whole going green and going smaller idea to be great but it is impeded by the same things that is fighting aginst, greed.. i talking about a 400sg ft home that can be built for around $6000 going for 40 to 50 thousand dollars… thats greed no matter how you look at it… and the water filters are priced out of range of the average 3rd world person … its like selling a bottle of water for a $100 in the middle of a warer shortage.. they call that gouging i think… it’s not that i dont think it is a great idea it is. but is no diffrent than what the drug and oil companies do to people.. sorry about the rant.. jst couldent not say anything.

    Kent Griswold - October 30, 2009 Reply

    Yes, they do seem very expensive, though I know backpacking filters are in that range so don’t know if that is really true costs plus some profit or what. If you donate to a special cause they drop the price down to $99, but that still seems high for the average person to spend on such an item. Of course the knowledge that you will have clean water whatever the circumstances may help justify the high cost of the unit.

    Tiana - July 27, 2010 Reply

    Yes, this is the price after profit! If it were to be mass produced for disaster relief, there would be much less profit made by the seller – as on Amazon. When the product is made in bulk it costs much less to buy in bulk. In the clip, Michael Pritchard says that it would cost $20 billion for these to be supplied to the entire 3rd world country, so if all the 1st world countries chipped in, this can be accomplished!

      Reverse Osmosis - August 30, 2010 Reply

      I’m not sure if all 1st world countries will chip in to collect $20 billion to only buy this water filter in bulk. There’s so much more to accomplish with $20 billion. I think big part of that money should also be used to improve the drinking water system on those areas, probably install bigger versions of this water filter.

zurlo25 - October 30, 2009 Reply

as an individual i have no problem paying the price for the unit for my personial use… the issue i have is that they are touting it as solution of the poor… that seems to be the selling point on the video..in my opinion. in other words, a horrible thing occours and i am able to get quite wealthy from the suffering of others… i jst find it unsavory.. much like war profiteering.

Kim - October 30, 2009 Reply

It’s a new idea… the inventor who’s worked on the idea deserves to profit a bit from it once it gets to market, especially since it probably took years and tons of money to develop. It’s not greed, in my opinion, for there to be some profit involved– both paying back that (intitially unpaid) investment and providing some reward for having developed something new and useful for the world.

Like any other new technology, the price will go down, imitations will spring up, and eventually it will be much more reasonable for everyone.

However, I’m thinking that a simple water catchment system with cistern coupled with the jerrycan could provide a very reasonably-priced drinking water system for one or two people, especially where water would have to be piped in long distances (or expensive wells dug).

    Kent Griswold - October 31, 2009 Reply

    Good point Kim, production costs are high for low volume so if it was really mass produced and made available for a lower cost more people would buy it. I like your idea with the water catchment and the jerrycan, it would really work great in an off-grid situation…Kent

      zurlo25 - October 31, 2009 Reply

      the filtration filiments used in the product were actually devolped by a diffrent company a few years ago. they are using them to clean the effluent from sewage processing plants so it can be safely discharged .. there was a whole show on the subject (an episode of invention nation)on the sundance channel in 2007.. the shows are being re-run on planet green now. i agree it is a great idea

Ryan - January 18, 2010 Reply

These filters are amazing. I purchased two last year on sale for $200. While that may seem like a lot of money, it’s worth it. The amount of water they can filter before needing a new cartridge is huge. Living in a rural area with a well, when the power goes out, I can walk outside to the ditch and get clean drinking water. I bought it for backpacking and canoeing, but it had so many other uses. We keep on in the van just in case we get stranded.

AW - March 16, 2011 Reply

You are all making some great points. I find them very interesting and it is clear to see there’s room for improvement on this idea; but it’s good to know that someone is taking interest in actually doing something for a brighter global future. This is most definitely better than the bottled water idea which is really past its prime; and if the earth rotates in its path much longer, bottled water should be phased out altogether considering the environmental consequences of such products.
Perhaps an even better and more revolutionary, albeit less likely to happen. . .would be for all global citizens to become good stewards over this planet

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