“Pure water is the first and foremost medicine”
About 1.8 billion people around the world do not have access to microbe-free drinking water. Most of them live below the poverty line and spend more than what they can afford to on safe drinking water. Added to that, waterborne diseases have a greater impact on children than adults.
For the development of underprivileged societies, pure and safe drinking water is crucial to maintain the health of every people. Not all people can afford RO and UV water treatment systems. Many rural areas use cheap simple filters that are capable of filtering turbid mud and big particles, but they never kill the micro-organisms living in this water.
An affordable treasure – Folia Filters
Theresa Dankovich, co-founder and CTO of Folia Water, developed a ‘drinkable book’ which was capable of producing germ-free water for a year at the cost of a penny.
When Theresa was doing her Ph.D., she experimented with incorporating silver nanoparticles on textiles and papers. These silver nanoparticles served as a reservoir of silver ions which releases them slowly over time thereby increasing the lifetime of the papers and fabrics.
While Theresa was doing her PDF, she got a project based in South Africa. Since it was a known fact that silver ions have the best microbial disinfectant properties, she decided the check the quality of water and the effect of her nanoparticles embedded paper filters. Thankfully, the results were promising.
A book for just pennies
We need to clear a misconception associated with the word ‘silver’. Using silver nanoparticles doesn’t mean that it is costly. Only very small quantities of silver ions are enough to disinfect more than 100L of contaminated water. Hence Folia filters are cheap and effective filters capable of permeating safe drinking water.
Folia filter, a filter paper infused with silver nanoparticles, can fit inside a small custom filter box. Further, many such papers are bound into a book called the ‘drinkable book’. One such book has 25 pages with each page’s lifetime of more than two weeks.
Drinkable book by Folia Filters
For the innovative filter paper, Theresa has gained many awards
- TIME’s 25 Best Inventions of 2015
- Gold Award – Design Intelligence Awards 2016
- Fast Company – Innovation by Design 2015, Health Category Winner
- Leading Global Thinker of 2015, Innovator – Foreign Policy Magazine
- Vibrant Gujarat Startup Grand Challenge 2016 – First Runner-up, Prototype Stage
- Water Award – Institution of Chemical Engineers (IChemE), Global Awards 2016
- TIE Pittsburgh Pitch Competition
- Ben Franklin of Southeastern PA award
Reaching out to the World
Theresa has tested her models successfully in many parts of Africa and is on the process of commercializing the product. Intending to provide the poorest with adequate safe water, Folia Water strives in producing filters that are cost-effective, long-lasting, and lethal to microbes. Soon, folia filters may commonly take a position in every household that cannot afford sophisticated water treatment systems.
“A person can live without love but not without clean water”