Hydraloop domestic water recycling unit almost halves your water bill
Water is precious, as anyone who has read Dune will know, and it's getting more precious by the year here on Earth even if we're a long way from the desperate condition of planet Arrakis for the moment. Dune's "Fremen" wear stillsuits designed to recapture so much water from the human body that they can survive in the desert on less than a thimble full of fresh water a day. One can only imagine what they would think watching us take showers, and throwing hundreds of gallons of water into the sewers like so much excrement.
Dutch company Hydraloop is here to help, somewhat. Winner of this year's Best of Innovation award in the sustainability category at CES 2020, Hydraloop is a residential water recycling system that plumbs in relatively simply, and can treat some 95 percent of your shower water and 50 percent of your washing machine water – that's about 85 percent of your total domestic water use – to be re-used in your toilets, washing machines, swimming pools, gardens, hoses or anywhere else you're not going to drink it.
Hydraloop says it can save around 45 percent on your water usage and sewage output, in a low-maintenance self-cleaning unit that uses no filters of membranes that need replacing. Instead, it treats the water using sedimentation, flotation, dissolved air flotation, foam fractionation, UV disinfection and an aerobic bioreactor to clean it.
Interestingly, there are energy savings to be had as well, since Hydraloop keeps water at room temperature. That means that in cooler areas, you're not wasting heating power bringing cold water in your toilet cistern up to room temperature. The company says this energy saving alone can reduce your energy usage by up to 600 kWh annually.
If the unit detects a failure in a component, it switches off and stops feeding recycled water back in. There's a smartphone app to monitor what's going on with the Hydraloop, and bigger houses and hotels can run multiple units in parallel to handle much more throughput.
At around US$4,000 per unit, it's not super cheap. The average US household pays around $840 a year for water, so paying four grand to bring the bill down by 45 percent will take around 10 years to pay itself off and start saving you money – and that doesn't include whatever the plumbing will run you. Still, many might feel a little up-front sting is worthwhile for the benefit of saving up to 20,000 gallons (75,000 L) of fresh water per year (that's the high estimate for a four-person family). The Fremen certainly would.
The system is detailed in the video below.