Good Thinking

Sweat Machine turns perspiration into drinking water

Sweat Machine turns perspirati...
Andreas Hammar's Sweat Machine
Andreas Hammar's Sweat Machine
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Footballers Mohammed Ali Khan and Tobias Hysén were the first to sample water from the machine during last week's Gothia Cup
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Footballers Mohammed Ali Khan and Tobias Hysén were the first to sample water from the machine during last week's Gothia Cup
Volunteers work to increase the supply of sweat
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Volunteers work to increase the supply of sweat
Volunteers work to increase the supply of sweat
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Volunteers work to increase the supply of sweat
Andreas Hammar's Sweat Machine
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Andreas Hammar's Sweat Machine
Andreas Hammar's Sweat Machine
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Andreas Hammar's Sweat Machine
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Unicef called upon the services of engineer Andreas Hammar to build the provocatively-named Sweat Machine which purifies sweat into drinking water. Though not intended as a serious measure to tackle shortages in drinking water, Unicef does hope to raise awareness of the issue, and invited visitors and footballers at last week's Gothia Cup soccer tournament to partake of a glass.

At the heart of the machine is new water filtration technology (used for the first time in this machine) which was developed by HVR and The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm called Membrane Distillation. The system uses a plastic cassette in which the water to be filtered is heated into vapor and circulated between two membranes, the other sides of which are cold. It's the resulting difference in pressure that forces the vapor through the membranes, causing, HVR says, the "absolute separation of all non-volatile substances."

Footballers Mohammed Ali Khan and Tobias Hysén were the first to sample water from the machine during last week's Gothia Cup
Footballers Mohammed Ali Khan and Tobias Hysén were the first to sample water from the machine during last week's Gothia Cup

Inside the Sweat Machine, the result, Hammar claims, is drinking water even cleaner than water from Swedish faucets. Hammar told the the BBC that one sweaty t-shirt typically provides about 10 ml (0.4 fl oz) of water, which equates to about a mouthful.

On Thursday the BBC reported that, according to its makers, 1,000 people had tried drinking water purified from sweat during last week's Thursday. In an apt twist, given the underlying goal of raising awareness, demand for water from the machine reportedly outstripped the supply of sweat. "So we've installed exercise bikes alongside the machine and volunteers are cycling like crazy," Mattias Ronge of advertising agency Deportivo told the BBC.

Sources: Unicef, BBC

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4 comments
Paul Hutchinson
> demand for water outstripped the supply of sweat Somebody was surprised by this?... People sweat less than they drink? Shocker!
Daishi
Bear Grylls will buy the first one for times when his fridge is out of urine.
Slowburn
As a demonstration of their new water purifier interesting. However combining distillation with reverse osmosis does not sound revolutionary to me.
techmanmacho
Question? How practical is it to collect people's sweat for this? Is someone walking around, scooping sweat from people's bodies? This is why a urine-based system would be far more practical. All you have to do is get passed the "Ewwwwwwwwww!" factor....