Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink
This is a concept design for a device to be deployed in disaster areas where flooding has created a risk to life and generally with this flooding, though there is ample water, it is not potable due to dirt and bacteria.
Step 1: The Concept
The idea here is to create a device that, in a flood situation (such as that after hurricane Katrina) may be deployed to supply clean drinking water and a safe place for people to get out of the water.
I have 2 ideas about deployment:
- These devices are stored in a compound in a flood area, when a flood occurs, they all float away, drifting around for stranded people to find.
- They may be dropped from a helicopter or supply plane into a flooded area. IBC's are very tough and would survive the drop.
The idea is based around an IBC (Intermediate Bulk Container), these are common on farms and in chemical plants all over the world.
This IBS would have the bottom valve removed and replaced with a micro filter to remove dirt and microbes from the water.
The IBC would start to fill and sink, sinking would continue until the 4 sealed plastic 55 gallon drums hit the water level, these become the raft keeping things afloat.
My theory is (and please correct me if this is wrong) that the tank, once full would become neutrally buoyant, the weight of the additional equipment on board, including the tank itself would make it want to sink but the sealed containers make it remain afloat.
The device then floats around until a survivor or survivors find it, they climb on top and can use the hand pump to pump out clean potable water. The unit would also hold dehydrated food to make up with the water, first aid supplies, emergency lighting, a locator beacon, etc. Units could be customized to the area they are going to, e.g. add tent shelters or heat supplies.
Step 2: Required Equipment
Below is a list of the equipment required to build this device, I will go into some detail on following steps:
Please note that this list is not definitive or exhaustive, the links I and prices I have give are for information purposes only and are subject to change and they are not the only supplier of each device, there are alternatives.
IBC: €230 Tanks.ie
Filter: €98 www.alpinetrek.co.uk
Pump: €28 www.slingsby.ie
Drumsx4: €60 www.slingsby.ie
Batteryx2: €162 http://www.photonicuniverse.com/
Solar Beacon: €92 http://www.lakelite.com/products/solar-beacon-light/
Mylar blankets: https: €8 www.amazon.com/Emergency-Mylar-Blankets-84-52/dp/B01M12OVJW?th=1&psc=1
Dehydrated food: €25 http://goodto-go.com/shop/gift-package-single/
Personal Locator Beacon: €257 https://www.rei.com/product/843146/acr-electronics-resqlink-gps-personal-locator-beacon
UV Water Treatment Pen: €62 https://www.steripen.com/product/steripen-pure-plus-blue
Step 3: Flotation Concept
This is where my understanding of the mechanics may be wrong but here goes:
The IBC is ballasted by the 2 batteries mounted near the bottom in water tight containers. I have used these batteries before and they are approx 25kg each so this 50kg pulls down on the IBC and keeps it right side up.
This causes the IBC to try to sink, water is allowed into the IBC via the space where the lower valve was but is has to pass through the filter, purifying in the process.
The filter allows 2 litres of water per minute to be filtered, an IBC holds 1000l but say take out 100l capacity for battery storage. This means that the unit would take 7.5hrs to fill completely.
The IBC fills until the barrels get to the water line and create buoyancy, you now have a raft with 900l of clean water underneath.
The 55 gallon barrels convert to approx. 215l each, there are 4 barrels so that is 860l of displacement, if my maths are correct that is 860kg capacity before the rig sinks.
Say the batteries weigh 50kg and the IBC and other equipment another 50kg, this leaves 760kg of flotation for people. Say the average person is around 80kg this means 9 people could technically be on board, now this is like the capacity plate in the elevator that says the box the size of a small fitting room has a capacity of 21 people, it may do it but you would never get 9 people on top of one of these things.
There is also an outer hand rail for people to pull themselves aboard.
Step 4: Equipment Explaination
Most of the kit on board is self explanatory, but some i will justify:
The flash beacon is solar as you want to be as visible as possible 24/7 without the risk of battery failure
The batteries are on board to power the search light, this again is important in seeing and being sen in a rescue. I did think of adding solar kit to maintain battery charge but figured between bad weather not having much sun and people sitting on the solar panels, this was a bust. I also looked at a small wind turbine but this is risky to survivors and could hamper rescue via helicopter.
The personal locator beacon (PLB) is key here, t the push of a button, rescuers will know your location.
The filter I have shown is only an example it is for camping and is slow and needs modification, I'm sure there is a better one out there. The idea is correct however, water pressure alone drives the water through a microfilter that removes particles and tiny bacteria.
The filter will not remove lepto sporidium as it is smaller than a water molecule and will pass straight through the filter. The UV pen will kill this off however.
Step 5: Final Thoughs
I unfortunately do not have the time, money or space to build this but i would love to see it get out to the world. if you do build one please send me a picture.