Sunday, February 19, 2006

India & other impoverished nations: how to provide affordable electricity & clean water

P A P U. Pushkar
Originally uploaded by Claude Renault.
San Francisco (Business 2.0) - Dean Kamen, the engineer who invented the Segway and developed the heart aid called the stent, is puzzling over a new equation these days. An estimated 1.1 billion people in the world don't have access to clean drinking water, and an estimated 1.6 billion don't have electricity. Those figures add up to a big problem for the world—and an equally big opportunity for entrepreneurs.

To solve the problem, he's invented two devices, each about the size of a washing machine that can provide much-needed power and clean water in rural villages.

"Eighty percent of all the diseases you could name would be wiped out if you just gave people clean water," says Kamen. "The water purifier makes 1,000 liters of clean water a day, and we don't care what goes into it. And the power generator makes a kilowatt off of anything that burns."

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