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Tata's $22 Unpowered Water Filter

written by: Vandana Singhal • edited by: Lamar Stonecypher • updated: 10/16/2010

Tata Chemical Limited recently launched an economic and eco-friendly water purifier. This unpowered water purifier is one of the first consumer applications of nanotechnology, is provided at a low price point, and is designed to meet a humane need.

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    Tata Water Purifier  

    Tata launched this purifier in its vision to provide safe and affordable drinking water to large number of population living across the country of India. Designed to tackle the problem of non-availability of safe drinking water, this unique and innovative product was launched in December 2009 by Ratan Tata, chairman, Tata Sons. Since its launch, this product has become very popular among consumers.

    The Tata Swach, as this filter is called, does not need running water or electricity to operate, since it operates on gravity. Moreover, it costs less than a cent per day to deliver safe drinking water to a family of five. The most impressive fact about this filter is it uses innovative nanotechnology and natural ingredients only. Since it makes use of nanotechnology, it is also called the Tata Swach “nanotech water purifier."

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    Construction of the Tata Water Purifier

    The Tata water purifier is made up of two compartments- one for untreated water and the other for pure water. The upper part is a reservoir where untreated water enters. In the middle, there is bulb with a cartridge. This replaceable cartridge treats the water and directs it to the second reservoir at the lower end. This cartridge has a lifetime of 3000 litres of water. Along with it comes the Tata Swach fuse and the Tata Swach lock. The fuse is incorporated to measure the amount of water passing through the bulb using an auto-shutoff mechanism. Once the purification capacity of the bulb is exhausted, this fuse stops the water flow. Only an authentic Tata Swach bulb can fit into this purifier due to presence of the Tata Swach lock. The height of this 560 mm tall is reduced due to the stackability of the two chambers. This water purifier can treat 3-4 liters of water in an hour.

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    Nanotechnology Used in the Tata Water Purifier

    To purify water, this purifier makes use of Rice Husk Ash (RHA) infused with nano silver particles. RHA, obtained from heating rice husks, reduces the turbidity of the water entering into the chamber. This becomes possible due to the activated silica and carbon already present in RHA. In addition, activated carbon binds the non-polar materials. Since most insecticides are non-polar, they easily bind on the carbon surface in the purifier.

    However, this carbon is not effective for removing microbial pathogens, which is the role of nano-silver particles. Silver stops the multiplication of bacteria present in impure water. Silver reacts with sulydryl groups present in bacterial cells, causing structural changes in the bacteria's cell walls. The surface area is also increased due to the nano-sized particles, and this allows the filter media to have more reaction time with the bacteria.

    The Tata Swach meets US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) standards for a domestic water treatment device that contains an antimicrobial or bacteriostatic agent.

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    Cost of Tata Swach Purifier

    This is one of the most inexpensive water purifier available in the market. You can buy the Tata Water purifier for just $22. In India, the Tata Swach is available at various retailers dealing in such products.


    Tata Swach Water Purifier