Skyler is a product engineer, designer, and servant leader focused on creating technologies that drive social impact around the globe. He believes that there is beauty in simplicity, and that an elegant design puts people and experience first.
Hi @Shane Zhao, I did my best to answer the new questions on the submission form-all that show up when I click "Edit" are answered. Before beginning the questions, I had moved them into a word document where I originally wrote them, and for whatever reason some of those questions do not show up when I try to edit the content again. The responses to those questions are posted above in a comment. Let me know if there's anything else I can add!
Thank you! We are excited to move on to the Refinement stage! Below are a few other questions answered that are no longer in the formal proposal.
HOW IS YOUR IDEA DIFFERENT FROM OTHER SIMILAR INITIATIVES? WHAT ARE YOU DOING DIFFERENTLY? WHAT UNIQUE ADVANTAGES DO YOU HAVE? We're looking for ideas that take a new approach to the problem they are meant to solve. Help us understand what makes your idea stand out!
The chemical dose controller is an open source technology that only requires locally available materials to install, and requires no electricity to run. The latter feature has been critical to the success of the technology in India where many villages do not have reliable access to electricity. The use of clever hydraulics to automate the dosing process simplifies the treatment process and makes the entire system more robust. Additionally, the fact that the technology uses locally available materials, paired with comprehensive training of partners and operators, means that the technology can be repaired by local operators using materials that you can buy at the nearest hardware store.
WHY DO YOU THINK THE PROBLEM YOUR IDEA SOLVES FOR HASN'T BEEN SOLVED YET? There are many water treatment technologies being implemented across rural India, especially chlorination technologies. The problem with the competing technologies is that they are either unsustainable due to the use of pumps and electronics, or they are too poorly-engineered to deliver an accurate dose of chlorine every time. The AguaClara chemical dose controller delivers an accurate dose of chlorine (or any other chemical), despite fluctuations that may occur in the influent flow rate. We accomplish this using creative hydraulic design, eliminating the need for pumps, sensors, and electronics. The chemical flow rate coming out of the doser adjusts automatically, without operator intervention, as system flow rates change. It also turns on and off automatically with the overall system.
HOW HAS YOUR IDEA CHANGED BASED ON FEEDBACK FROM YOUR COMMUNITY? The Beneficiary Feedback phase is all about consulting with your community. Tell us about how you got feedback and what, if anything, changed once you had this information. [Feel free to fill this in later in the phase].
While we were installing the pilots, we received a lot of feedback from the operators who were working with us. They emphasized the desire to have a unit that was more modular and easier to install. Other difficulties they faced involved the time required to remove air from the system. The new design attempts to minimize air traps and includes many more air valves. Additionally, we find that the operators often prefer to have a pump to refill the chemical stock solutions rather than filling up the drums by hand using a bucket. If the community can afford to add a small diesel pump to make the stock solutions, it should be part of the implementation plan!
WHAT WOULD YOU ULTIMATELY LIKE TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS IDEA? WHAT IS YOUR NEXT STEP TO GET THERE? We want to take the longview. Tell us about what you dream this idea will achieve. Is this a new or recent idea for your organization? How does it differ from what you are already doing?
We want to spread an inexpensive technology that reliably disinfects water at the municipal scale for communities that do not have consistent electricity access. As a result, we hope to reduce the incidence of disease in rural communities. Through provision of safe drinking water at the municipal scale, we hope to be securing a resource for rural and impoverished communities from which economic prosperity can be built. The next step is to identify a small cluster of villages where there is existing (ideally consistent) water supply but with no or inadequate treatment in which to pilot the new version of our doser. Part of identifying a cluster of communities also involves identifying a suitable partner or partners who work in the region. We require partners with expertise in mobilization of communities as well as partners with technical capacity and construction management experience. The partners must be willing to receive comprehensive training in our technology and process, and the villages must be ready to own, operate, maintain, and pay a tariff for their new systems. Once the partners and sites are identified, we would seek out a local fabrication site to build the new doser and test it prior to installing it in the field.
Thank you Cj! We are very excited about the potential that both this technology and implementation approach hold! The operator would be a paid member of the community who would be trained by our local implementation partner alongside AguaClara LLC.