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Reliable water in off grid communities

October 21, 2021 3 min read

Zero Waste Scotland

We received financial support from Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) to help build three fully operational ‘test rig’ products that were able to be thoroughly evaluated. This financial support  not only allowed us to develop a more ‘lean’ manufacturing process, prove the replicability of our device, but also demonstrate the economics behind a Water as a Service (WaaS) business model with prearranged trials in Scotland. 

A Growing Demand in Scotland

New regulations from the Drinking Water Inspectorate and Scottish Government introduced in 2018, require the 23,890 off-grid homes and businesses reliant on Private Water Supplies (PWS), to purify their drinking water for guests. A study done by Scottish Water in 2016 found that other than distillation (CWD’s core purification method), other available market leading point-of-use water purifiers tested, did not fit the standards required for PWS purification. Due to a lack of confidence in PWS purity, holiday makers often resort to single use plastic bottled water, resulting in millions of additional single use plastic bottles in remote communities with limited recycling facilities. Our new circular economy product will lead to improvements in water quality in the highlands and remote parts of Scotland, and later globally, reducing the reliance on bottled water. 

Clean Water Designs (CWD) has designed and built a new high speed, low energy, circular economy water purification product that can remove all contaminants commonly found in PWS, for example Cryptosporidium (Scottish water, 2020), and E.coli, found in 11% of the Scottish PWS tested in 2018 (Scot.Gov, 2018). The patent pending CWD product can provide safe and reliable drinking water in off-grid Scottish homes and businesses, and have a positive effect on the £6BN Scottish tourism industry, which already employs 1 in 12 people in Scotland (Tourism in Scotland, 2018). It will also reduce the long term environmental damage caused by single use plastic bottles. This product will enable consistent, high quality, reliable, lower carbon mineral water on tap, for our initial market of remote off-grid huts, homes and businesses in Scotland. 

CWD needs to gain independent verification from the Water Test Network (WTN) of the water quality produced, before testing our product with future customers as the device is intended for off grid PWS purification with varying water contaminants. The WTN, in partnership with Scottish Water, helps SMEs test their water technologies, and has offered CWD a voucher worth £44,947 (€50,000) to use their facilities in Gorthleck to be used before the end of the year. See results here(add in link to results from Gorthleck)


Carbon Saving Potential

The carbon saving potential CWD can have with our product is significant, from: 

  1. Providing a reliable fresh water source enabling more off-grid property development in Scotland, and increasing confidence in Scotland's rural tourism industry; 
  2. Reducing the growing reliance on plastic bottled water; 
  3. Reducing the reliance on high carbon, non-recyclable, replacement water filters and RO membrane;
  4. Reducing the high energy and water waste from existing point-of-use purifiers;
  5. Reducing the carbon cost of market leading water distillers by 22x (University of Edinburgh, 2018);
  6. Reducing the reliance on utilities companies to pump piped water to remote communities.
  7. Recent Scottish Government policy changes have made it easier to “hut” in remote locations (gov.scot, 2017). Hutting is a low carbon way of life, with a fundamental demand on fresh drinking water. CWD can enable more hutting with technology that only requires a water source (stream, well, river, sea) and renewable energy (wind, wave, solar).

Our Unique product and business model

Our innovative Circular Economy business model has two parts: 

  1. WaaS - Because CWD have designed and built a high quality, long-life machine, we can lease out and maintain them using remote preventative and predictive maintenance. This extends the effective life of the device, reducing our production costs, and providing us with an asset we can reuse instead of needing to recycle. 
  2. Long-Life Mineral Cartridges - CWD’s variety of long lasting mineral cartridges will remineralise distilled water from our devices. One CWD cartridge produces the equivalent of 300 bottles of mineral water, reducing the cost of, and reliance on, bottled water. Once consumed (over 3-6 month) these cartridges can also be replenished with mineral media in the user's home, producing 75% less CO2 than shipping fresh ones each time, extending the life of a cartridge case, and reducing our production costs. 

Scalable Impact

CWD is a Scottish company with a long term vision of globalisation to markets beyond rural Scotland. With international growth, the carbon saving potential listed above becomes highly scalable. We aim to design and build in Scotland, manufacture here using local suppliers, develop circular manufacturing processes here, and export our technology from Scotland around the world. 

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