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Shipping container conversion provides clean water in developing countries


October 16, 2013

 2,000 shipping containers are planned to be transformed into water purifying stations

2,000 shipping containers are planned to be transformed into water purifying stations

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Joining forces with engineering firm Deka R&D;, Coca-Cola has launched a project which will see the transformation of approximately 2,000 shipping containers into water purifying stations. Dubbed Ekocenter, the shipping container module has been designed to provide isolated and developing communities with facilities to produce safe drinking water, as well as access to wireless internet technology and solar powered charging.

The first Ekocenter prototype is currently being tested in Heidelberg, South Africa. It consists of a bright red 20 ft (6 m) long shipping container covered with solar panels. The facility comes equipped with a Slingshot water purification device which uses vapor compression distillation to produce clean drinking water.

The Slingshot, which was invented by Deka R&D; President Dean Kamen (the same guy who came up with the Segway), was originally designed to be powered by cow dung and can turn almost any source of dirty water (including river water and sea water) into clean drinking water.

"Each machine delivers approximately 850 liters (225 gallons) of safe drinking water per day using less electricity than a hair dryer (1 kWh)," says Coca-Cola.

The Ekocenter framework seeks to employ "female entrepreneurs" who will be responsible for the everyday running of the facility. It is also anticipated that the center will act as a central hub for community activities, with plans to offer solar powered charging services for mobile devices or lamps, internet access, downloadable education kits and refrigerated storage for medications and vaccines.

The Ekocenters will be distributed throughout Africa, Asia, Latin America and North America. By the end of 2015 it's estimated that there should be enough running to produce around 500 million liters (132 million gallons) of clean water per year. Coca-Cola will employ local partners to carry out maintenance and checks on the Ekocenter's water purifying facilities, making sure the water is safe to drink and meets international health standards.

Source: Coca-Cola, Deka R&D;

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

The Ekocenter framework seeks to employ "female entrepreneurs", that would never work in Australia with all the anti discrimination laws.

Denis Klanac

I think this is not only way cool but also very green since it uses recycled shipping containers but also solar power. I think it is neat that it does more than just cleaning up water but also can be used to store medicine that needs to be refergerated and a charging station for devices.


Terrific humanitarian concept. Let's just hope that people aren't controlled by a hostile takeover of any of these 'stations'.


I guess this proves what enviro-nuts and Occupy Wallstreet types say about big corporations (corporations are evil, they must be replaced with government agencies, etc.)


this is a bit ironic; first cocaCola steals the local water from whatever source, usually at no cost with the indulgence of local government; then after bottling it with added sugar (lots) and 'coke', they sell it back to the locals at a cost they can hardly afford, and then..................taDAAA! they provide a local waterPurifying station!!!

Bruce Ward

Bruce: Can resources be stolen without govt. help? Sure. But it's not legal. The theft is not sanctioned by the populace. It therefore meets with so much resistance that it becomes more economical to pay. It is govt. that makes corporations dangerous. Only govt. can create monopoly, because govt. is a monopoly of force.

I am surprised no company has thought of these local store model before. I especially like the computer access. I could see this being the hub for many other businesses, e.g., motel, bar, movie theater, and shops.

Don Duncan

This looks a great piece of kit but the cynic in me is wondering where the coca cola dispenser is located - must be on the other side. None, and no corporate trade mark slashed across the container ? In that case a great effort !


the coke logo, is in white on black in the top right of the top picture. As it should be. They deserve cognition for an act to help those who need it. However, it is no one's business (except their stock holders) whether or not, it is profit driven. profit is not evil, and is the lifeblood of business. It is NOT the purpose of business to provide jobs, Jobs are a byproduct of an increasing cash flow, and a need for a faster delivery. I can see use for one of these units for off grid use locally, as well.


I see they are selling other things kind of like a convenience store. My question is how much are they going to charge these people for the water and will they be able to afford it. There is nothing wrong with a profit but basic water should never be UN-affordable to the locals.


butchholland, the locals are welcome to continue using whatever method they are already using to collect and purify their water. No one is twisting their arms to use the provided service. If a business can not make a profit, it can not exist. Someone MUST pay for the service, will it be you? Or should those who will benefit from it, pay the fee each time? That is free enterprise, and it will sink or swim on it's own terms. if they charge more than the market will bear, it will collapse without any help from any outside source. The LOCALS ALONE will decide if it is fair or not.

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