Bargaining for Clean Water: Why Dean Kamen Invented the Coca-Cola Freestyle

The Coke Freestyle

The technology Kamen used to develop the Freestyle Coca-Cola soda fountain is similar to that in his prescription pumps.1

When Kamen asked Coke for help distributing his water purifier, Coke challenged Kamen to develop a better soda fountain first.

Dean Kamen, Inventor of Medical Technology

The inventor of the Segway, Dean Kamen is known in the scientific community for developing medical equipment. His inventions include a wearable prescription pump for insulin and chemotherapy, a microdosing prescription pump for infants, and a home dialysis machine.When Kamen realized his dialysis machine required too much distilled water and energy for home use, he developed a system to purify tap water that would run on less power than a hairdryer.

And that’s not all it does. Kamen’s water purifier can take any water source and return water safe even for infants to drink.2

How it works

  • Kamen’s water purifier uses vapor compression distillation system.
  • It uses less than one kilowatt of electricity per hour (less electricity than a hairdryer).
  • The purifier uses any water source, no matter how polluted—laundry water, groundwater, seawater, even sewage.
  • It boils and evaporates the source water then condenses and collects clean drinking water.
  • One system purifies up to 850 liters per day, which can provide safe drinking water for around 300 people.2, 3

Water Purification for the World

While he was developing it, Kamen realized his water purifier had world-wide benefits. It could supply clean water for disaster relief and to areas with polluted or low water supply.2

Waterborne Disease: #1 Killer

Kamen believes that 50% of the world’s medical issues can be solved with clean water. He says children are at the highest risk.4 The World Health Organization (WHO) agrees. Water-borne disease kills more than 3.4 million people, mostly children, every year, making it the world’s largest killer.5

This is the result of more than 2 billion people across the world using contaminated water. Approximately 844 million people lack a potable water source, including 159 million people who use surface water for their daily needs. WHO estimates that half the globe will be water-stressed by the year 2025.6

Goliath, Meet Slingshot

Kamen named his water purifier Slingshot as the appropriate weapon for the global water crisis, which he calls Goliath.4

Kamen’s goal to mass distribute Slingshots to thousands of water-polluted/water-stressed rural locations has been slowed by his lack of resources. Unfortunately, his medical connections were little help delivering water purifying systems to rural areas—medical technology is distributed in wealthy areas. So, he turned to Coke for assistance in mass distributing his invention.3

Bargaining: The Freestyle

Coke’s counter-proposal: first build a better soda fountain. This is how the inventor of medical supplies came to develop the Freestyle Coca-Cola soda fountain.2

Expanding the Handshake Deal

By the time Kamen’s soda fountain, the Coca-Cola Freestyle, was put in production, Coke had a new CEO. But Muhtar Kent didn’t drop Kamen’s handshake deal. He expanded on the informal agreement to mass-produce and distribute the water purifier. To get the water purifiers to rural areas, Coke is distributing Slingshots within their Ekocenter.2

Ekocenter Modular Community Market

Coke’s Ekocenter is a solar-powered shipping container that provides low-income rural communities with safe water, internet access, non-perishables, first-aid supplies, and more. Coca-Cola calls their Ekocenter a “modular community market.” It is an opportunity for local (usually female) entrepreneurs, who are trained by Coke.6

Going Far Together

To distribute the Ekocenters, Coke is following the proverb, “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” Coke has pooled resources with 10 other companies to greater impact the world. By December 2017, 150 solar powered Ekocenters had been placed in 8 low-income countries. These Ekocenters can distribute 78.1 million total liters of potable drinking water per year.6

Kamen’s Vision and Future Use

Kamen’s vision involves the distribution of 2,000 units to low-income rural areas.2 Is his vision of clean water distribution different than Coke’s vision? Is the need more immediate? In America, water-polluted urban areas like Reno and Las Vegas; Pittsburg; Milwaukee; Flint, Michigan; Brady, Texas; to name a few, and the water-stressed state of California, which is researching ways to recycle wastewater for potable use, might look into using the Slingshot. Comment below and let us know what future use(s) you envision for Kamen’s Slingshot.

Tune in next week to read Toilet-to-Tap—Taking the Ick Out of Wastewater Recycling.

  1. Coca-Cola Freestyle: The Soda Machine of the Future (+ the Past), By Elina Shatkin, March 1, 2012. https://www.laweekly.com/content/printView/2378629
  2. Popular Science, Pure Genius: How Dean Kamen’s Invention Could Bring Clean Water to Millions, by Tom Foster, June 16, 2014. https://www.popsci.com/article/science/pure-genius-how-dean-kamens-invention-could-bring-clean-water-millions
  3. Coca-Cola Journey™: Sustainability, EKOCENTER & Slingshot Clean Water Partnerships.
    https://www.coca-colaafrica.com/stories/sustainability-water-ekocenter#
  4. WHO Drinking-water Key Facts, February 7, 2018,
    http://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water
  5. Dean Kamen Inventor – Slingshot Water Purifier, By Datun Center, April 17, 2015.
    https://youtu.be/PMBB97raUGY
  6. WHO: Waterborne Disease is World’s Leading Killer, by Jessica Berman, October 29, 2009.
    https://www.voanews.com/a/a-13-2005-03-17-voa34-67381152/274768.html

World Soil Day is December 5

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations sponsors World Soil Day every December 5 to focus attention on the importance of healthy soil and the sustainable management of soil resources. Sponsored every year since 2014, this year’s theme focuses on soil pollution. Here is an excerpt from the World Soil Day Website:

“These days pollution is a worry – and soil is also affected. Soil pollution is a hidden danger that lurks beneath our feet.

“1/3 of our global soils are already degraded. Yet we risk losing more due to this hidden danger. Soil pollution can be invisible and seems far away but everyone, everywhere is affected. With a growing population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, soil pollution is a worldwide problem which degrades our soils and poisons the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. The entity of the problem is still unknown as not certain data are available on a global scale.

“Soils have a great potential to filter and buffer contaminants, degrading and attenuating the negative effects of pollutants, but this capacity is finite. Most of the pollutants originate from human activities, such as unsustainable farming practices, industrial activities and mining, untreated urban waste, and other non-environmental friendly practices. As technology evolves, scientists are able to identify previously undetected pollutants, but at the same time these technological improvements lead to new contaminants being released into the environment. In the Agenda for Sustainable Development 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals 2, 3, 12, and 15 have targets that commend direct consideration of soil resources, especially soil pollution and degradation in relation to food security.

“It is time to uncover this threatening reality. Combatting soil pollution requires us to join forces and turn determination into action. Be the solution to soil pollution.”

At Bio Huma Netics, Inc., we take soil health seriously. Visit our product Websites to find solutions for improving agricultural soil (Huma Gro® and Fertilgold® Organics) and bioremediation of contaminated soils (Probiotic Solutions®).

The Impact of Commonly Abused and Illicit Drugs in Wastewater Treatment

By Heather Jennings, PE, Senior Project Engineer for Probiotic Solutions®

I was attending a wastewater conference and overheard an operator talking about how a drug bust turned his lagoon orange and almost put him out of compliance with his permit. At another location, I was told that the city I was visiting had been hit by an unexpected source of ammonia that almost “wiped out” their bugs. I asked an operator if it was possible that the influent to his wastewater system might have illicit drugs in it. His reply was to the effect that, although he frequently found drug paraphernalia in his screens, he didn’t know of any illicit drugs being present in his system. So, I started wondering what illicit drug impacts really have on wastewater systems. The following is what I found.

Read the entire article online in the August 2018 issue of Water & Wastes Digest:
https://www.wwdmag.com/wastewater-treatment/illicit-drug-impacts

Download a PDF version of the article.

Conclusion: Here’s what we can do about it.

Operators and municipalities need to realize that their systems can be significantly impacted by commonly abused and illicit drugs. They should also understand that they are not alone. It is not just a United States problem: other nations are struggling with these same issues. Developing a pretreatment program and enforcing existing programs for industrial and commercial users can be very useful in isolating locations within the collection systems into which chemicals can be dumped. Proactively adding pH meters into branch lines in areas where illegal dumping can occur will provide advance warning to WWTPs. When WWTP upgrades are considered, more sophisticated treatments such as membranes, mixed bed bioreactors, and tertiary treatment can reduce PPCPs and illicit drugs from leaving in the effluent.3 Additional sewer epidemiology lab testing can also be a valuable tool in identifying the locations of contaminant sources.

If pretreatment and upgrades are not possible, developing partnerships and notification protocols with local police departments and drug enforcement agencies may be the single most effective thing that wastewater operators can do to be alerted to potential impacts to wastewater systems and to more quickly and knowledgeably address potential upsets within their systems.

The occurrence and impact of commonly abused and illicit drugs in WWTPs is a problem that is likely to grow. Plant operators must be vigilant and prepared. Although not designed as such, WWTPs are the last line of defense in protecting our water resources from drug pollution.

 

BIO ENERGIZER® Reduces Sludge at Sugar Refinery Wastewater Treatment Lagoons

Location: Louisiana

A large sugar refinery struggled with elevated BOD and COD values in its wastewater treatment lagoons due to the sugar refinery process. The lagoon wastewater system capacity was 25 million gallons with an influent of 1.25 million gallons per day. The wastewater system also suffered from accumulating sludge as well as significant odor issues. The sugar refinery had a history of periodically being unable to meet its National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permitting requirements.

Probiotic Solutions® BIO ENERGIZER® applied to a sugar refinery wastewater lagoon system over 9 months resulted in reduced accumulated sludge, TSS, and odors, with improved BOD and COD reduction.

Read the full report in English online

Read the full report in Spanish online

Download the full report PDF in English

Download the full report PDF in Spanish

 

Rural Colorado Town Uses BIO ENERGIZER® to Reduce Wastewater Lagoon Sludge and Save Money

The wastewater treatment plant superintendent for a rural Colorado town of about 500 people noticed that the plant’s three wastewater lagoons were filling with sludge, but he was dealing with budget constraints. The town’s population fluctuates throughout the year, and the varied loading was affecting system performance. In addition, the aeration systems were not keeping up with the oxygen demand in the ponds. The superintendent decided to try a bioremediation approach to sludge reduction, using BIO ENERGIZER®, before embarking on the expensive process of mechanically dredging, hauling, and disposing of the sludge.

Using BIO ENERGIZER® is now saving the city thousands of dollars in mechanical dredging, hauling, and disposal costs. Lagoon desludging using BIO ENERGIZER® is typically one-fifth to one-tenth of the cost of mechanical dredging and land-applying or land-filling sludge.

Read the full report in English online

Read the full report in Spanish online

Download the full report in English

Download the full report in Spanish

BHN’s Heather Jennings Receives TAPPI Division Leadership & Service Award

Heather Jennings, Senior Project Engineer for Probiotic Solutions® at Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), was presented the Division Leadership & Service Award by the TAPPI Women in Industry Division at the PaperCon meeting in Ohio on April 16. The Award was presented in recognition of Ms. Jennings’ outstanding leadership and exceptional service. She was a co-founder of the TAPPI Women in Industry Division in 2015 and has been division vice chair since that time. She will assume chairperson duties for the division in 2019.

TAPPI is a not-for-profit, volunteer-led association that is built around a community comprising thousands of member engineers, managers, scientists, academics, suppliers, and others from around the world who are involved in the papermaking industry. TAPPI Divisions grant awards to individuals in recognition of outstanding accomplishments or contributions to the industry’s technology or the TAPPI organization. Each technical division may grant no more than one award for leadership and service per year. More about TAPPI and its Women in Industry Division can be found at http://www.tappi.org/womenindustry/.

BHN President and CEO Lyndon Smith stated, “I’m very proud of the work Heather has done with TAPPI, particularly in terms of supporting and promoting roles and opportunities for women in industry. She is a wonderful representative of Probiotic Solutions® and BHN to the scientific and engineering community.”

Ms. Jennings has been with BHN since 2015. She has a BS in Chemical Engineering from Brigham Young University and has 15 years of engineering experience.

Probiotic Solutions® is the BHN soil and wastewater bioremediation division that assists industries such as food processing, municipal wastewater, pulp and paper, chemical refineries, and others who use water in their processes to treat and return safe, clean water to the environment.

Bio Huma Netics Appoints New CFO

Bio Huma Netics, Inc. (BHN), President and CEO Lyndon Smith has announced the appointment of Scott Bostwick to the position of Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Bostwick replaces Mike Smith, who is retiring after almost 30 years with the company. BHN produces the Huma Gro®, Huma Gro® Turf, Probiotic Solutions®, and Mesa Verde Humates® product lines.

Mr. Bostwick, an Arizona State University graduate, completed his certified public accountant (CPA) exam in 2007 and, after working in various accounting and finance positions for government and private companies, joined BHN as Senior Director of Accounting in 2014.

Lyndon Smith said, “Mike Smith has been our strong right arm at BHN for nearly 30 years. He provided conservative steady financial guidance through a period of rapid company expansion. With Mike’s insights and contributions sales grew ten-fold, and he has built a solid financial structure that will ensure our success well into the future. This has been especially felt as we launch our new product line, Fertilgold® Organics, in the coming months. I will miss my daily interaction with Mike, but I’m also very confident that Scott has the financial leadership capabilities we need to continue BHN’s growth and success.”

Bostwick said, “Mike Smith has been a terrific mentor and friend to me over the past 4 years, and he has helped me to become well prepared to provide BHN’s financial guidance going forward. Mike has agreed to remain available to BHN on a consultant basis, and it is great to know that he is there for assistance should a need arise. BHN is a great company, and I am excited to be able to take the financial leadership role in continuing a legacy of success.”

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About Bio Huma Netics, Inc.

Founded in 1973, Bio Huma Netics, Inc., (BHN) is a three-generation-family/employee-owned company that is a global leader in providing sustainable solutions to the world’s environmental challenges for agriculture (HUMA GRO®, MESA VERDE HUMATES®); horticulture, turf & ornamentals (HUMA GRO® TURF); and soil & wastewater remediation (PROBIOTIC SOLUTIONS®) through its proprietary Micro Carbon Technology® and its continuously improving and ever expanding product lines. Learn more at www.bhn.us.

Solids Destruction Efficiency Using BIO ENERGIZER®

A small Missouri Sewer District operated a single wastewater lagoon that treated approximately 10,000 gallons per day of municipal sewage. The lagoon was in need of sludge removal as it had not been dredged since it was constructed in the ‘70s. By treating the lagoon with Bio Energizer®, the District saw improvement in water clarity, a reduction in odors, and a drastic reduction of accumulated solids. To continue reading . . .

View Online          Download PDF

Contact a Probiotic Solutions® representative for recommended dosing.

BIO ENERGIZER® Reduces Sludge, BOD, and Odor—City in Illinois

A small town in Illinois (pop. 3,500) had a municipal wastewater system that was in need of sludge removal. The sludge accumulation problem had become so problematic that the sludge was visible at the surface. The exposed sludge was causing an odor problem for the nearby residents. In addition, due to the high solids accumulation, the BOD values were higher than the State’s acceptable range.  Something had to be done at a cost that the town could afford. To continue reading . . .

In English Online                              In English PDF Download

En Español Ver Online                   En Español Descagar PDF

Contact a Probiotic Solutions® representative for recommended dosing.

Recovering Wastewater Treatment Activated Sludge Systems After Hurricane Irma

By Heather Jennings, PE

Hurricane Irma hit Southern Florida in early September as a Category 5 hurricane with winds of 180 miles per hour.  Due to flooding and lack of power, millions of gallons of untreated or partially treated wastewater were spilled or discharged from overwhelmed systems (see Washington Post article).

Florida is already dealing with an aging infrastructure and flat terrain that requires systems to use electricity-dependent lift stations. From what I’ve seen in the field, even a day without power can negatively impact activated sludge systems, and prolonged power loss can result in the death of the whole biomass, rendering such systems ineffectual!

Probiotic Solutions® has products that can help activated sludge systems recover more quickly. Our MICROPLEX™ JS product is capable of reseeding systems with a two-part formulation of a live synergistic blend of natural, Class I bacteria, specifically chosen for their ability to rapidly degrade solids, fats, lipids, proteins, detergents, hydrocarbons, and other compounds. Our MICROPLEX™ N product is formulated to enhance the nitrification process under toxic, inhibitory, or cold weather conditions and specifically to reseed nitrifying systems and maintain the nitrification process.

Contact a Probiotic Solutions® representative for recommended dosing.

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