Converting All-Terrain Vehicles Into Water Purification Delivery Devices

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Excerpted from Solution Nation: One Nation is Disproportionately Responding to the World’s Most Intractable Problems

G.A.L. Water Technologies introduced the GALMOBILE—the world’s first vehicle that purifies water. Since its launch, the GALMOBILE has been deployed in Switzerland, France, Nigeria, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands and parts of Southeast Asia.

The vehicle was designed for rapid deployment to difficult-to-access locations. As the GALMOBILE weighs only 1.5 tons, it can be dropped by parachute from helicopters or delivered by raft. One reason the vehicle is so light—equivalent systems weigh between eight and 10 tons—is that the same engine is used to fuel the vehicle and to purify water.

Once on land, the GALMOBILE can travel at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. It can traverse the sides of mountains at 27° and can ascend hills at 32°. The GALMOBILE’s maneuverability was inspired by off-road vehicles and was designed to be sufficiently rugged to meet the demands of the Israeli army. The GALMOBILE can pour its first clean glass of water within 30 minutes of pulling its handbrake.

Water Purification Steps

With the GALMOBILE, potable water can be produced from any water source including rivers, lakes, oceans, brackish water, wells, and highly turbid water. The GALMOBILE has a reach of 300 meters as it can be placed 50 meters from the water source and another 250 meters from the user. The water purification process begins with anchoring a hose in the water source and using floaters to ensure that the hose appropriately rests on the (river) water. Next, the GALMOBILE sucks in the source water; a filter on the water inlet ensures that no large contaminants enter the GALMOBILE.

While the water may be treated by as many as 22 distinct processes, the vehicle’s built-in technology optimizes the purification protocols based on local water quality issues. Among the treatment steps that may be activated are screening, filtration, oxidation, active carbon removal, progressive cartridge filtration, membrane-based ultra-filtration, and reverse osmosis. All water processed by the GALMOBILE meets World Health Organization standards. Safety checks abound: In the event the fuel hose is mistakenly inserted into the water inlet, nothing will come out of the water hose.

The vehicle can travel 2,500 kilometers—or can purify water for 100 hours (or 10 days)—without refueling. It can produce 100,000 liters of water per day which is enough to provide 20,000 people with water for a day.[1] The GALMOBILE is weather resistant and operates on an air pressure system. Tire pressure is reduced when road conditions are muddy while the tires inflate when the road is firm. Also, air pressure is used to clean and dry the vehicle.

The GALMOBILE: Built with Simplicity in Mind

Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” In a similar vein, the state-of-the-art technology underpinning the GALMOBILE is packaged in a manner that is almost intuitive. Anyone with a driver’s license and a half-day of training is capable of operating the vehicle; turning on just one switch initiates the water purification procedures. Since there is no electric generator, no electricians are needed to power up the water purification process—that power is provided by the vehicle itself which operates with 12 volts of electricity.

The GALMOBILE is easy to operate and maintain in conditions of darkness; the vehicle is equipped with area lights, lights in the cabin, and lights in the fuse box. Thus, operators neither need to hold flashlights in their hands nor mount them on their hard hats.

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[1]  In emergency conditions, people can survive on five liters of water per day.

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